Macbeth literary terms + examples

Allusion Fig. of speech where author refers to place/event/lit workIn act 1, Ross compares Macbeth to the husband of Bellona, goddess of war. Showing his capacity to kill brutally
Aside Remark character makes only audience can hear, not other charactersIn act 1, Macbeth makes an aside after the three witches have given them his three apparitions: to become thane of cawdor, gladmis, and King. Macbeths aside states that the future will come no matter what, which in turn turns out to be ironic when the three witches make the other three apparitions that will happen no matter what but Macbeth chooses to ignore it.
Blank verse Unryhmed iambic pentameterLady Macbeth’s speech where she reveals the plan to kill Duncan uses blank verse, which draws the readers attention to the chant like style Shakespeare was trying to portray in certain parts.
Conflict Expressing a resistance the protagonist finds in achieving his dreamsConflict between Banquo + Macbeth, Macbeth is afraid Banquo’s descendants will become kings of Scotland despite his throne being promised by witches.
Foreshadowing Writers use of hints/clues to suggest what events will occurThree witches making the two different apparitions, one in act 1 and one in act 4 where the three different predictions (thane of cawdor, gladmis, then king) (1. armed head tells him beware of macduff 2. Bloody child says Macbeth won’t be harmed by anyone born of woman 3. Will never be defeated until birnam wood moves to dunsinane) come true
Iambic pentameter 5 stressed syllables each preceded by an unstressed syllableMacbeth’s soliloquy in act 2, describing the dagger he will use to kill Duncan is an example of iambic pentameter. Whenever Macbeth and lady Macbeth use iambic pentameter, the way Shakespeare adds different style to the words both characters say distinguish them from each other, for eg Macbeth’s lines are written more poetically in a thoughtful more metaphorical sense while Lady Macbeth’s are written with direct and clear words, no extra flourish.
Imagery Words/phrases used to create mental imagesIn act 2, Shakespeare uses imagery to describe the unnatural gloominess of the night when Duncan was murdered (earthquakes, thunder). Also symbolic of the gloom and darkness surrounding Duncan’s murder.
Dramatic irony What appears to be true to one or more characters is seen false by audiences. example of dramatic irony is when Duncan arrives at Macbeth’s castle and is struck by the peaceful atmosphere of the place: “This castle hath a pleasant seat”. These words follow immediately after the scene in which Macbeth and Lady Macbeth begin plotting his murder.
Verbal irony When character says one thing but means anotherIn the scene where Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost, Lennox goes on in ironic sarcasm to explain how “nobly” Macbeth has behaved and that he has “borne all things well.” Shakespeare is using this ironic sarcasm to highlight Lennox’s anger and disgust at the two-faced murderer, Macbeth.
Metaphor Comparison of two subjects focusing on similarities In act 5, Macbeth compares himself to a bear being tied to a skate, bear baiting was an old practice used to abused bears
Monologue Speech delivered by one personIn act 2, Lady Macbeth goes into a speech about how much of a coward her husband is and how she planned out how to kill Duncan and his two servants.
Personification Attaching human traits to inanimate objectsLady Macbeth is quite a dramatic and memorable woman, and the things she says are often rather outrageous, which is in keeping with her personality. In Act I of the play, she has just read the letter her husband sent her about the witches’ predictions and says this:She is asking the stars to do the impossible, to hide her ambition (her “black and deep desires”) from the rest of the world. Of course a star is a grand and powerful object compared to a mere mortal, yet Lady Macbeth presumes to command them to obey her will. Even more, she is asking them to be complicit (participatory) in her deception and change the entire pattern of the world (make dark what is supposed to be light) just for her.
Similie Comparison of two objects using like/asAs two spent swimmers that do cling together (10).Here, a comparison is made between men fighting in battle to swimmers who have spent all of their energy swimming. Both are tired from their “work.”
Soliloquy Speech character makes alone on stage, to audienceAct 2, Macbeth has a soliloquy describing the dagger he will use to kill Duncan.
Theme Central idea conveyed by workAmbition: Macbeth will do anything it takes to become king and secure his position, even if it means killing loved ones