Macbeth- The Craft of a Writer notes

Blank verse and rhyme Macbeth is written mostly in this. It is poetry which doesn’t rhyme. Each line usually has ten syllables with five stresses. e.g. “Stay you imperfect speakers tell me more.” (Act 1, scene 3, line 70)
reasons for rhyme 1. to make important lines stand out2. at the end of a scene3. to relieve tension
Ambiguities This means that you can interpret characters in different ways, so in Macbeth, the witches might be talking about the weather, or they might mean something completely different. Another example of this is when Lady Macbeth says the daggers ‘must lie there’ (Act 2, scene 2, line 46) – she could mean the daggers must be placed there, but also that the daggers will hide the truth and pin the blame on the servants.
Imagery used a lot in Macbeth. This is when strong pictures or ideas are created in our minds. For instance, the play has lots of references to darkness, to sleep, to disease and even to blood.
metaphors, personification, and similes three main ways of using imagery
Metaphors is when one thing is called something else. For instance, when Macbeth wants to defend his lands against others, he uses metaphors from medicine – he wants to find the ‘disease’ (Act 5, scene 3, line 51) in Scotland, to restore it to ‘health’ (Act 5, scene 3, line 52) and to use a ‘drug’ (Act 5, scene 3, line 55) against others.
Personification where something is described as if it is human, so the “Dark night strangles the travelling lamp”. (Act 2, scene 4, line 7).
Similes when a direct comparison is made (with ‘as’, ‘than’ or ‘like’), so Banquo says that the witches “look not like the inhabitants o’the’earth”(Act 1, scene 3, line 41) or Macbeth says something “moves like a ghost”. (Act 2, scene 1, line 56).
Opposite words or ideas also frequent in Macbeth – they highlight conflicts in the story such as appearance and reality, choice and fate or good and evil. At times the opposites are in terms of single words, such as ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’. The technical term for this is antithesis, when words are deliberately chosen to contrast. For instance, we have ‘foul’ and ‘fair’ from the witches and even Lady Macbeth says what has ‘quenched’ the servants has given her ‘fire’ (she means it’s made them tired, but made her alert)
Repetition also used frequently in Macbeth – repeating a word or phrase draws attention to it. For instance, in Act 2, Scene 2 we have:Sleep no more!Macbeth does murder sleep’, the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care(Act 2, scene 2, lines 32-34)In fact the word ‘sleep’ is repeated 8 times in just 10 lines. Again, this is no accident – Shakespeare really wants the audience to be aware of what sleep means to his characters – sleep is like death, but it’s also an escape from the worries of the world. By concentrating on the word ‘sleep’ we can see how Macbeth has put Duncan to sleep (he’s killed him) and now will no longer sleep (or relax) again
soliloquies speeches but they are meant to be heard only by the audience. They tell us directly about a character’s thoughts and feelings and they are very important in Macbeth, because we can understand exactly what is going through a character’s mind. Perhaps the most famous is in Act 2, Scene 1, which starts: “Is this a dagger I see before me” (Act 2, scene 1, line 33). Without this soliloquy, we would have no idea just how confused Macbeth is.
Dramatic Irony we know more than the characters know. e.g. In Act 1, Scene 3, the witches greet Macbeth as Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth says:’By Sinel’s death I know I am Thane of Glamis;But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives.'(Act 1, scene 3, line 71-72)The audience already knows that Macbeth has been made Thane of Cawdor by King Duncan because the treacherous Thane of Cawdor has been put to death and Duncan has given the title to Macbeth.

You Might Also Like