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Flashcards in Macbeth Deck (10)
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How does Macbeth use alliteration and biblical reference to show how fear and paranoia have consumed him?

''We have scorched the snake not killed it''

Sibilance/Alliteration - spitting out words, highlighting his paranoia and references the metaphorical snake which shows that fear has consumed his thoughts to the point where he mimics the snake.

Biblical reference in the reference to the serpent of temptation - in the Garden of Eden. Recurring theme of poison ("scorpions") to highlight constant danger


Macbeth trying to hide his thoughts of killing the king

''Stars hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires!'

'Stars' light imagery contrasts with 'hide your fires' as starts typically shine bright. Juxtaposition conveys his conflicted mind and carries the theme of expectation Vs. reality

Verb 'hide' implies there is a sense of secrecy to macbeth motives

Third person pronoun 'Your' shows he's talking directly to the stars. therefore this portrays how macbeth views the matter to be larger than mankind. the darkness is so severe it transcends human expectations. near-deitic connotation reinforces how macbeth views the matter to be so bad it cannot be repeated on earth.

The syntax is specifically chosen with 'not' before 'light' to mirror the negativity of macbeths 'desires'

Personification for: 'let not light see'

'Deep desires' the idea of negativity and his thoughts have become synonymous

Exclamation marks to show passion and desperation.


Macbeth wishing the murder would be over quickly

''If it were does when tis done then twere well it were done quickly''

Pronoun 'it' is used as he can't even face up to the reality of his actions and is now trying to conceal the action from his own mind.

Repetition of 'done' shows how he may be so worried about committing regicide that his speech is now mixed up just like his emotions and thoughts.

the use of contractions show his nervousness by possibly stuttering and he wants to finish his sentence as quickly as possible to move on and not think about it

Adverb 'quickly' is the only non monosyllabic word to make it appear emphasised to show it's the promotional focus of the sentence so the reader empathises with Macbeth's need to get it over with.


How does Macbeth mirror the witches?

''So foul and fair a day I have not seen''

Foul and fair contrast which show Macbeth's conflicting thoughts, as well as showing how he is duplicitous and often portrays himself to be something he isn't.

Monosyllabic sentence

emphasis on the day rather than himself shows his selflessness


Macbeth before he decides to kill banquo

''We will proceed no further in this business''

Collective pronoun(?) 'we' suggests he is trying to speak for her and involve lady Macbeth more than she is.

Imperative showing Macbeth's dominance over the situation and his relationship. Shows Macbeth is set in his ways that men are more dominant in the hierarchical society than women.

This business (pronoun) suggests he is unwilling to discuss the murder of Banquo, highlighting his fear.
Loose iambic pentameter speaking from the heart; natural speech.


How does the murder manifest itself into Macbeth thoughts?

'O full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife''

metaphorical- shows the deterioration of macbeths mental state as he it becoming delusional
adjective 'full' shows he is negative and assumes the worst. he feels so confused and torn that his mind must be blocked from other things
noun 'scorpions' is used to carry the theme of poison/ evil as macbeth has now been transformed into a much worse character
Scorpions typically contain poison and easily kill which shows how he may be coming himself to something worse than him as if to pass on the blame.
As they are predatory, it may show how killing others is becoming easy to macbeth


How does lady macbeth describe Macbeth's facial expression?

'Your face my thane is like a book that men can read'

Possessive determiner 'my' sounds as if Lady Macbeth has control of him and appears to be more dominant.

The noun 'book' suggests how his expressions are figuratively 'easy to read' which implies how he gives himself away easy. Comparing him to an inanimate object in a colloquial sense implies an air of insult towards Macbeth's character which, to most, is not necessarily a negative trait. This is, however, a serious hindrance towards Lady Macbeth's lust for power.


How does Macbeth also appear to duplicitous?

False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

Shows how Macbeth acts according to his heart, particularly near the beginning of the play.

Use of imperative 'must' shows that that Macbeth is determined and is developing a strong conscience.

Monosyllabic shows simplicity and truth to what Macbeth is saying - highlighting to a Jacobean audience that covering up the murder of a king is difficult and is unlikely to come without severe anguish.


Extract from Macbeth's monologue regarding Lady Macbeth's death.

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. / Out, Out, brief candle! /
Life's but a walking shadow (...) It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

Here, Macbeth highlights the futility of life.

Dusty death gives images of a barren wasteland (not completely dissimilar to where the witches chant in Act 1 Scene 1). It implies decay and the ugly, permanent side of death. Its alliteration shows the consistency and eternity of death, it is everywhere and inescapable.

'Out, out, brief candle!' - shows that human life brings light to the world and how quickly and easily it can be snuffed out and forgotten.

A shadow is dark and insignificant: it represents absence of light and can be distorted to the candle bearer's wish. This tells us that Macbeth realises how life is dark, joyless, and how his life has been manipulated by the witches.

The noun 'idiot' implies no one is really in control of their lives and, possibly, that God is the idiot. He wonders if God remains in heaven because he lives in fear of what he has created.

The abstract nouns 'sound' and 'fury' tell us that all Macbeth has come to know is violence and hatred and that it is all his life was: all he stood for, fought for, all he sacrifice, ultimately, was meaningless.


To what extent does Macbeth wish he could not think of the regicide he has just committed?

To know my deed, 't were best not know myself

Here, Macbeth comments on how he would rather be unconscious than to experience the torment of guilt - this is a poignant moment, particularly to a Jacobean audience as this would be taken as a direct warning not to commit regicide, as per Shakespeare's intention.

The unspecific abstract noun 'deed' shows his pain is purely mental: existing solely in his mind, and that he cannot face the reality of the heinous act he has committed.