Essay Macbeth by William Shakespeare - Essay Prowess

Essay Macbeth by William Shakespeare


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Macbeth is a Shakespeare play that was set in medieval Scotland and is partly based on true historical event. The play outlines how the chief character, Macbeth, a soldier in the army of king Duncan, charts the bloody rise to power and his tragic downfall. Three witches furnish Macbeth that he will once become the king of Scotland, but the future Scottish kings not come from his lineage, but to the lineage of Banquo, his fellow army captain. He waits for the prophecy to fulfill but is amazed when King Duncan appoints his son Malcolm to be his future successor (Shakespeare Pg. 33). The play is among the best works of Shakespeare, and this has been possible due to the playwright`s use of various techniques that have boosted the quality of the scenes in the play. This paper pays high attention to the identification and discussion of various methods that the playwright employed in order to enhance the quality of act two, scene three of this play.

The use of symbolism

Symbolism is a technique that is used in literature works where symbols are used to represent ideas or qualities by allocating to them symbolic meanings that are totally different in the literal sense. Sometimes, symbols can be words, events or actions that come from an individual portraying a symbolic value (Faust Pg. 414). In this scene, Shakespeare uses symbolism in various instances. For example, when Macduff (one of the loyal follower of King Duncan) enters in the castle of Macbeth, and realized that the king had been killed, he refers castle as the anointed temple of the lord and king Duncan as the life of the building. His words are symbolic because, in the real sense, he meant king Duncan had been murdered in one of the established offices of the Scottish kingdom. Moreover, when Macbeth is asked what had happened by Donalbain, he responds to him that the head and the spring of their blood be stopped. His utterance is symbolic since, in reality, he meant their king had been murdered.

The use of irony and dramatic irony

Irony is the use of words, actions or events that are totally opposite to the literal meaning. Dramatic irony, on the other hand, occurs when the words or actions of the characters in the play have totally different meaning to the audience (Faust Pg. 414). For example, after Macduff had realized the king had been murdered, he authorizes the bell to ring in order to alert everyone of the bad news. Lady Macbeth response to the bell as if she did not know the meaning of that bell. She entered into the castle where the king had been murdered confronting Macduff the business that he had with trumpet. Her reaction is total irony because she knew that the bell alarm was to notify everyone that king Duncan was dead, since she was the one who suggested and planned how to eliminate the king through killing him so that her husband Macbeth can become king.

In addition, when Macduff enters the castle are realizes the king was dead, he became astonished. The way that Macbeth responded to Macduff is total irony. Macbeth came asked him what was the matter it is like if he (Macbeth) didn`t know the king was dead. Consecutively, Macbeth referring King Duncan as the fountain of their blood is ironic because he and his wife were hated him, and that is why they killed him (Shakespeare Pg. 33).

The use of imagery

Imagery is the use of descriptive and vivid texts, actions and language by an author in order to add depth to his or her literature work. The use of imagery makes the audience create a mental picture, likeness of things or figures about a given situation (Faust Pg. 414). In this scene, Shakespeare uses imagery in various instances. For example, when Malcolm asked who had killed his father, Lennox responds it must be his close associates because their faces and hands were badged with blood. The use of this imagery creates in the mind of the audience on whom the people of the Scottish kingdom suspect to be the masterminds of king Duncan`s death. That is; those who are close to the king are the first suspects since no man can be trusted. In another instance, Macbeth describes skin of King Duncan as one that is silver laced, in an attempt to describe how the important the king is to the people.

The use of idiomatic expressions

Idiomatic expressions are expressions whose real meaning cannot be made from the individual words that are use to make them. In this scene, various idiomatic expressions have been used in many instances to portray different meanings. For example, when Macbeth asked Macduff what he had seen, the latter responds to him by requesting him to enter into the chambers and destroy his eyes (Shakespeare Pg. 33). In the real sense, Macduff wanted Macbeth to enter and confirm that king Duncan has been murdered, but not to destroy his eyes.

Repetition of words

Shakespeare employs repetition of words in order to win the concentration of the audience and to express the emotion of various characters that he uses in his work. For example, when Macduff entered the castle of Macbeth and saw the body of king Duncan brutally murdered, he reacted by repeating the word horror (Shakespeare Pg. 33). The use of the word at this situation shows the disbelief of what Macduff saw.

The use of personification

Personification is the act of making non-living objects act as living characters. For example, Macduff informs Macbeth and Lennox to look and see the death itself and the graves rising and walking (Shakespeare & Braunmuller Pg. 73). Use of personification enhances the attraction of the attention of the audience.


It is, therefore, evident that the playwright uses numerous techniques in order to improve the quality of his work. Some of the methods he employs include the use of symbols, idioms, imagery, and irony among others.

Work cited

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York: Dover Publications, 1993. Print.   

  Faust, Miriam. The Handbook of the Neuropsychology of Language. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Print.     

Shakespeare, William, and A R. Braunmuller. Macbeth. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print.  

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