What are examples of literary devices/ stylistic devices in Macbeth Act 2 scene 1? Thank you !

wjc | Student

As with most of Shakespeare's plays Macbeth Act II Scene I is filled with literary and stylistic devices.  Banquo uses a simile (a comparison using like or as) when he says to Fleance, "A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers!" 

Next, Macbeth's speech (Is this a dagger...) at the end of the scene is an example of a soliloquy.  That is, a lengthy speech made by one character intended for only the audience to hear.

Third, Macbeth utilizes a pun, a play on words, of the word "bloody" when he states "I see thee still; And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, Which was not so before. There's no such thing: It Is the bloody business which informs Thus to mine eyes."  The character is talking about not only the result of stabbing someone with his dagger, but he is also using bloody as an intensifier, similar to "damn." 

Another literary device is Macbeth's allusion, or reference to a well known historical event, person, or work of art. Macbeth refers to Tarquin (probably the Proud) a King of Rome during the 500s BC.  He was a vicious and brutal king known for his deceit, arrogance and violence. All characteristics necessary to Macbeth on his mission.

Finally, personification, the giving of human characteristics to non-human things,  is used when Macbeth says, "Thou sure and firm-set earth, Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout, And take the present horror from the time, Which now suits with it." It is as if the earth can hear and speak like a person.  This tells the reader that Macbeth is clearly paranoid or at least uneasy about what he is setting out to do.

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