What is being compared in the metaphor, "Stars, hide your fires," in Act I, scene 4 of Macbeth?I have stared at this line for hours and I still have no clue what is being compared. I know that in...

What is being compared in the metaphor, "Stars, hide your fires," in Act I, scene 4 of Macbeth?

I have stared at this line for hours and I still have no clue what is being compared. I know that in the line, Macbeth is saying that he doesn't want his evil desires to be known, but what are the stars?

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In this aside, Macbeth talks to himself about his desire to be king.  He knows that he cannot show his desires to the people around him.  Instead he knows that he must keep a brave face and not show his hand.  If you look at the quote in context, he mentions that if he is going to become king, he's either going to have to step over Malcolm or give up. In order to step over him, he's going to have to kill him.  But, he knows that thinking about this is horrible thought and if others see it they will know his deep, dark desires. So, for now, he must plot and wait for the right moment.

MACBETH

(aside) The prince of Cumberland! That is a step On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap, For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires. The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.
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