What literary techniques are used in Macbeth act 4, scene 3, in the talk between Malcom and Macduff? How does Shakespeare feel about political ambition?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One recurring technique during the conversation between Macduff and Malcolm in act IV, scene iii is the personification of Scotland as a victim, abused and calling out for salvation. MacDuff beseeches Malcolm to act with lines like "(your country) weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash is added to her wounds." Macduff also repeats refrains like "Scotland! O, Scotland!" Malcolm follows suit with lines like "Bleed, bleed poor country!" The effect of this technique is to show that Macduff is appealing to the prince's sense of pity and patriotism. He is, in effect, telling Malcolm that seizing the throne from Macbeth is not an ambitious act but a duty, like saving a damsel from a monster.

This alone is not enough to win over Malcolm. Throughout the conversation, we see the prince react to Macduff's overtures first with suspicion (believing the invitation to be a trap laid by Macbeth ) and then with protestation that he is not worthy to be king. Malcolm...

(The entire section contains 505 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team