What are some examples of literary devices used in Act 5, scene 8, of Macbeth?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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William Shakespeare's play Macbeth is filled with examples of literary devices. The following literary devices are found in Act V, scene viii.

Metaphor: A comparison between two, typically, dissimilar things (not using the words "like" or "as" to make the comparison).


- "Why should I play the Roman fool and die" (1). Here, Macbeth states that he would not be a Roman fool and commit suicide as Roman fool would.

- "Turn, hell hound, turn!" (4). Here, Macduff is comparing Macbeth to a hell hound. By calling Macbeth a "hell hound," Macduff is saying that Macbeth reminds him of this creature known to live in hell and behave evilly.

Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant found within a line of poetry.


- "But get thee back; my soul is too much charged" (6). Here, the "b" sound in "but" and "back" are repeated. Also, the "m" sound in "my" and "much" are repeated.

- "Than terms can give thee  out!" (10). Here, the "th" sound in "than" and "thee" are repeated.

Kenning: A kenning is typically found in Anglo-Saxon texts. This literary device is a two word phrase which elevates the imagery and language of the text.


- "Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt" (44). Here, the kenning "soldier's debt" refers to death. 


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