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Literary Devices in Macbeth
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Macbeth is full of imagery of light and darkness. From the first, the cover of night is invoked whenever anything terrible is going to happen. Lady Macbeth, for example, asks "thick night" to come...
Get your popcorn: the play opens on a foggy heath amidst a terrible thunder storm, so you know you're in for a laugh-riot of a play.Not. Macbeth is a dark, dreary play with a lot of dark, dreary ac...
Was Macbeth the greatest tragedy ever written? Maybe. But before we go throwing around words like "greatest," lets take a peek at our handy-dandy tragedy checklist:Dramatic work: Check. Macbeth's a...
Macbeth opens with three witches conjuring on a heath amidst thunder, lightening, "fog and filthy air" and then proceed to throw around sinister prophesies, so, yeah, we're going to go ahead and sa...
Here's what you should remember about Shakespeare's plays: The nobility tend to speak in "blank verse," which is essentially unrhymed poetry. The commoners tend to speak just like we do, in regular...
What's Up With the Title?
Exactly what you think is up with the title. Shakespeare wasn't a guy to waste words: this is a play about a guy named Macbeth. That said, we don't want to leave you feeling disappointed so here's...
What's Up With the Ending?
Macbeth ends when Macduff presents Macbeth's severed head to Malcolm, who celebrates by inviting everyone to his coronation party. Fun!Well, what did you expect from a play about regicide? The...
We admit it: Macbeth is hard. The plot isn't overly complicated, since the tragedies tend to be more straightforward, and this plot is basically Man Meets Witches, Man Kills King and Many Others; M...
In the beginning we meet (or hear about) our characters: King Duncan is a nice old man who was going to be taken advantage of by traitors; Macbeth is a courageous war hero who defends his king, his...
Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis
Anticipation StageBefore he hears the witches' prophecy, Macbeth was pretty content with his life. Now he's having some pretty naughty thoughts—thoughts about killing his king. He's not exactly e...
What started King James's witch-hunting craze? Historians note that it began in 1589, when James's betrothed, Anne of Denmark, sailed to Scotland for the wedding ceremony, the ship encountered a ma...
There are plenty of allusions to sex in Macbeth, but… it doesn't seem like anyone's actually doing it. Take a look:The weird sisters cast a spell to "drain" a sailor "dry as hay" so he won't be a...
Tarquin, who raped Lucrece (2.2.55)Gorgon or Medusa, who turned men to stone (2.3.72)A farmer: well-known alias for Father Garnet of the Gunpowder Plot (2.2.4)The equivocator: central in the Gunpow...
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