What literary devices are used in Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 1?
In this scene, Shakespeare uses Lady Macbeth's actions and words while she sleepwalks as a metaphor for her guilt. A metaphor is when two dissimilar things are compared to create an association between them. Often, poets and writers use a concrete image as a metaphor to describe or explain an abstract concept. For example, a beautiful red rose—an object that we can touch, smell, and see—can become a metaphor for love.
In this scene, Lady Macbeth's words and actions become a metaphor for the deep guilt she feels over the murders she has been part of. The scent of blood she speaks of is a metaphor for murder, and her sense of guilt is expressed through an image that shows that no amount of sensory loveliness can cover the horror of her crime:
Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!
Lady Macbeth's compulsive hand washing also becomes a metaphor for her guilt.
Shakespeare also uses a literary device less commonly...
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