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Literary Devices used in MACBETH Imagine how dull a Shakespearean play would be without the ingenious literary devices and techniques that contribute so much to the fulfillment of its reader or viewer Macbeth by William Shakespeare is a tragedy that combines fact and legend to tell the story of an eleventh century king Shakespeare uses numerous types of literary techniques to make this tragic play more appealing Three literary devices that Shakespeare uses to make Macbeth more interesting and effective are irony symbolism and imagery One technique that Shakespeare uses is irony Verbal irony is when a character says one thing but means the opposite When a reader understands the irony of what a character is saying then he can truly understand the nature and intentions of the character An example of verbal irony is when Macbeth says to Banquo Tonight we hold a solemn supper sir And Ill request your presence Macbeth 3113-14 The reader soon discovers that Banquo never makes it to the banquet because he is brutally murdered by order of Macbeth Shakespeare also uses situation irony This occurs when the results of an action or event are different than what is expected An example of situation irony occurs when Macduff talks to Malcolm and discusses the tragedies that are taking place in Scotland Without knowing that his own family has been slain Macduff says Each new morn New widows howl new orphans cry new sorrows Strike heaven on the face 434-6 Ironically Macduff comments about widows while he is completely unaware that he is a widower himself Irony a key element to a tragic play like Macbeth has the ability to make the tragic hero appear more villainous or the down-fall seem even more tragic The second type of literary device that Shakespeare uses in Macbeth is symbolism The predominant symbol is blood and is used as an effective method to describe the theme of the play Not only
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