Literary Devices Used In Macbeth Essay Example

Macbeth by Shakespeare is very fond of persuasive writing and does a fantastic job expressing it deeply with many devices. Specifically, in Act 1, Scene 7, when Lady Macbeth persuades Macbeth to go through with the plan of killing king Duncan. When Lady Macbeth is persuading Macbeth, she uses many persuasive devices such as hyperbole and rhetorical questions. These persuasive devices were used effectively by Lady Macbeth and got her point across to her husband that the king has to be killed. On top of using these persuasive devices, she also had to lie. Ultimately, that and the use of other techniques caused the manipulation of Macbeth.

A hyperbole is a figure of speech using deliberate exaggeration. This often might produce a comic effect, but it can also be serious. Before Lady Macbeth entered, Macbeth thought of what would happen to the world and himself if Duncan died. So Macbeth tries to make use of hyperbole to help himself ponder what would happen by stating, “ Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, That tears shall drown the wind.” (pg. 41). When Macbeth says this he suggests that if he kills Duncan, which is a terrible deed since he is such a great king, heaven will cry out loud against such a crime. The exaggeration here is on point and emphasizes how big of an error killing Duncan would be. Lady Macbeth would do anything to become king as her ambition is what she feeds off. So when Lady Macbeth tops off her persuasive speech to her husband with magnificent use of hyperbole by saying, “ I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I sworn as you Have done to this.” (pg. 43). What she proposes by this is that she would be willing to kill her child before she would back down from a promise. The use of hyperbole in this context is magnificent because she exaggerates to the maximum extent by saying something this ridiculous, but it makes her statement much potent. Even though Macbeth’s use of hyperbole was exceptional, it does not compete with how Lady Macbeth uses it. That is because, at the end of the scene, she convinces him to kill Duncan. That was part of how she convinced him, but she also uses another device called rhetorical questions.

A rhetorical question is a question asked to create a more dramatic effect, and it is typically to make a point rather than receiving an answer. Lady Macbeth uses many of these questions to turn the conversation she is having with her husband back to him so that he can address her accusations. The way she states these questions is in a passive-aggressive manner, which helps create a dramatic effect in each of these questions. Before Lady Macbeth entered the scene, Macbeth did not desire to kill Ducan due to the consequences. Until, when questioning Macbeth, Lady Macbeth says, “Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valor, As thou art in desire? “(pg. 41). Lady Macbeth kills out any thoughts of reconsideration when she inquires whether Macbeth is afraid of doing what he desired in the first place. Lady Macbeth keeps questioning him and says, “And live a coward in thine own esteem.” (pg. 41). Now, Lady Macbeth is questioning Macbeth’s masculinity and insulting him, which makes him give in. Both of these rhetorical questions stated by Lady Macbeth influences Macbeth to kill Duncan because a person does not typically want to be insulted by somebody about something they fear. 

Hyperboles and rhetorical questions can help reveal persuasiveness in either a fabulous way or a terrible way. In Lady Macbeth’s case, it was most definitely a disturbing way, as she persuades Macbeth to do what she desires. This comes to shows how Shakespeare not only uses these devices in a great way, but he assists the reader to digest them more easily to help them understand how both serious and convincing the moment is. All in all, both of these persuasive devices helped out Lady Macbeth magnificently and they ultimately support her persuade Macbeth to kill the king.