Language features in Act1, Scene 5

Personification is a language feature used to give human attributes to objects or places. Throughout lady Macbeth’s speech Shakespeare uses personification to reveal her evil desires, whilst introducing the idea of a greater power to the play. An example of Shakespeare using personification in Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy is when she says  “Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark”. Whilst also using a metaphor concept here (“blanket of the dark”) Shakespeare uses personification to reveal the concept of shielding Lady Macbeth’s devious plans from a greater power. This use of personification conveys that heaven (a greater power) is lying in a bed, the dark night sky being the bed sheets. Here Lady Macbeth is willing that her plans and actions will be kept a secret, and that heaven will not ‘peep’ over the blanket nor see Lady Macbeth executing king Duncan.

One Reply to “Language features in Act1, Scene 5”

  1. This is a great, clear, precise explanation. I’d like to take it a step further and look at whether there is additional possible meaning conveyed through this choice of metaphor. Maybe Shakespeare is trying to show that to Lady Macbeth, heaven is an innocent place, almost child-like. This would be hubris, which shows an interesting aspect of Lady Macbeth’s character. Do you agree? (You don’t have to).

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