Metaphor: Act III, Scene II of Macbeth Analysis

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In Act III, Scene II of Macbeth, Shakespeare likens the dangers that need to be eradicated, namely Banquo and Fleance, to a “scorched snake”. This comparison is apt as both a snake and a threat represent peril and unpredictability. By referencing a “scorched snake”, it is evident that Macbeth’s streak of violence will persist throughout the play, as he will never feel free from his troubles.

The comparison between Macbeth’s troubled state of mind caused by guilt and a troubled conscience and his perception of Banquo and Fleance as potential threats not only highlights his current mental state but also foreshadows future deaths. These events are a result of the witches’ prophecies, specifically their prediction that Macbeth would become king. This personification emphasizes the urgency for Macbeth to eliminate any perceived threats.

In Macbeth’s soliloquy, a shadow is given the attributes of human walking ability. Macbeth states that “life’s but a walking shadow”, using this personification to convey the idea that life is merely an illusion, capable of appearing as something it is not and also fleeting or vanishing rapidly. Similarly, in Shakespeare’s tragic play “Macbeth”, Macbeth employs hyperbole by declaring that he would “better be with the dead”. This hyperbolic statement conveys his current state of being haunted and tormented mentally.

The passage suggests that Macbeth would prefer to be dead like the people he has killed. This would prevent them from harming him and haunting his dreams with their gruesome methods. The vivid image conveys that the speaker has been deeply affected by his past actions. He believes that the crimes he committed will continue to haunt him until his death.

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