What are four literary devices in Act III, Scene 5, of Macbeth?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Several literary devices appear in Hecate's speech in Act III, Scene 5.

In this scene, the supernatural element in Macbeth reappears when the three witches encounter Hecate. Hecate, an ancient goddess of witchcraft viewed as the ruler of the weird sisters and the "patron" goddess of witches, is angry the other witches did not consult her before speaking to Macbeth.

Four literary devices used in this scene are as follows:

  1. Metaphor: "mistress of your charms" (Hecate compares herself to this "mistress" in an unstated comparison)
  2. Figurative language: "the glory of our art" (Their witchcraft is described with words other than the literal.)
  3. Allusion: "Acheron," the river of Hades in Greek mythology [Hell] (This is a reference to a place of cultural significance in line 15)
  4. Figurative language: "corner of the moon" (The moon is described figuratively as it does not literally have corners) 

Of course, personification, which is probably already noted, is in lines 31-32 as Hecate states that Macbeth will "spurn fate, scorn death." In line 33, "security," meaning overconfidence, is personified, as it is spoken of as an "enemy."

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Macbeth

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