What are some examples of personification, paradox and alliteration in Act 1 of Macbeth?I found examples of metaphors and similies to be easy, but these ones were harder to find.

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susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The play begins with one of the most often quoted paradoxes:

Fair is foul and foul is fair.

A paradox is a seeming contradiction, and this line spoken by all three witches at the end of the first scene suggests their deceptive nature--nothing is what it seems to be.

Examples of personification are more difficult to find perhaps because they are more scarce.  But one example of giving inanimate objects human characteristics might be in King Duncan's speech:

My plenteous joys,

Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves

In drops of sorrow.

Here Duncan is ascribing human traits to his happiness that is disguising itself with his tears (of joy).

Alliteration is the repetition of the first consonant sounds of words that are close together.  It serves as a type of verbal highlighter that emphasizes key ideas.  Alliteration is quite common throughout the play.  One example is Macbeth's speech in scene 4:

Stars, hide your fires;

Let not light see my black and deep desires.

"Deep desires" is an example of alliteration suggesting Macbeth's murderous inclination.  This line, by the way, is also filled with assonance--repetition of vowel sounds.  Look how many times the long i sound, as in "eyes," is repeated.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A paradox is a statement that appears to be contradictory but contains a hidden truth. In the opening scene of the play, the witches discuss when they will meet Macbeth. One of the witches utilizes a paradox by saying, "When the battle’s lost and won" (Shakespeare, 1.1.4). This statement is considered a paradox because the outcome of a battle is typically either a win or a loss. However, the witches understand that Macbeth's victories will eventually become terrible losses. After he attains the throne, his wife will commit suicide, he will be filled with guilt, and, eventually, he will die at the hands of Macduff.

Personification is when an idea, animal, or inanimate object is given human attributes. In act 1, scene 2, the Captain personifies "fortune" by telling King Duncan, "And fortune, on his damnèd quarrel smiling, Showed like a rebel’s whore" (Shakespeare, 1.2.14-15). Fortune, an arbitrary force related to luck, is personified as being an evil smiling man in this example.

Alliteration is a stylistic device where multiple words in a series share the same first consonant sound. In act 1, scene 1, the Three Witches utilizes alliteration by saying, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" (Shakespeare, 1.1.12).