William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” referred by actors and Theatre-makers as the “The Scottish Play” as the dark spirits throughout the play are s\owed through clever language conventions both literal and metaphorical. Throughout the play you see Macbeth go through a very varying range of mental status, ranging from despair, sadness and confusion in what he should for his actions, to acceptance of what he has done welcoming death not being afraid and confident in what he has to do.


“Whence is that knocking?
How is ’t with me when every noise appals me?
What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red”
This quote comes from Scene 2 Act 2, just after Macbeth has slain King Duncan which leading up to showed a lot of different mental states Macbeth found himself leading up to finally making the decision to kill Duncan. After the deed is done Macbeth starts to worry and lose common sense speaking about how a voice signifying that he’s hearing voices showing a decaying mental start they cried out to Macbeth “The voice kept crying, “Sleep no more!” to everyone in the house. “Macbeth has murdered sleep, and therefore Macbeth will sleep no more.” This metaphor told by Macbeth can be related back as a language feature known as a metaphor this quote is telling that Macbeth has murdered sleep which is something you cannot physically it can also mean Macbeth has murdered everything plunging Scotland into “Darkness” that shows how Macbeth is crumbling hearing how “Sleep no more!” which is another metaphor as perceived as you cannot sleep no more as Macbeth has murdered sleep so there is no more sleep and he as the host cannot be trusted as he has betrayed even Gods appointed one and if you sleep you will be murdered in his household so sleep no more! This voice can be portrayed by Macbeth’s mental state and hearing things or something more sinister something supernatural.
After Macbeth has killed King Duncan, and hears the Porter knocking Macbeth jumps and asks himself how can every noise scare him as if they all know what he has done and each sound is against trying to catch him with the bloody evidence on his hands. Even Macbeth can’t stand to look at his own hands “What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes.” Is a metaphor explaining these hands of his have done something so terrible he wants to pluck out his own eyes so he doesn’t have to see them and he is instantly regretting what he has done and not even the entire ocean can wash this blood from his hands but he doesn’t mean physically although he using this metaphor to describe how nothing can make him forget what he has done or justified in his mind what he had just done was right, and whenever he tried to cleanse his hands of this treachery it would only stain the ocean red which could be referring to the fact that he can’t hide this deed forever as he can’t clean it up without staining everything red with guilt and eventually he won’t be able to run away from the treachery.
“Whence is that knocking?” After Macbeth has killed Duncan with the presence of something something supernatural he hears a mysterious knocking which could signal doom for Macbeth as he feels as if the blood on his hands will never wash away and so the guilt piles and later we know that it’s Macduff knocking which will eventually be Macbeth’ s which is Dramatic irony that the knocking signalling the end for Macbeth later does which is a clever way of using the language feature to use the knocking which Macbeth sees and the end for him as the evidence and guilt is piling up in his head and he can’t handle it losing in the war with his head as his metal state crumbles and says “How is ’t with me when every noise appals me?” with all the guilt Macbeth has every noise scares him to think someone knows of what he has done and each noise is trying to catch him of the deed, while on the complete of end Lady Macbeth isn’t afraid and tells Macbeth that only “A little water clears us of this deed.” and she believes that no one can know for sure as how a little water will wash away the blood and so wash them away from suspicion.
After the death of Duncan, Macbeth with the guilt piling up starting losing control and started hallucinating one servant laughing and the other crying out murder, even after he kept hearing voices coming from the asleep servants “One servant cried, “God bless us!” and the other replied, “Amen,”  Macbeth hearing this from the servants was almost because of all the guilt and how he believed nothing can clean him from this deed until he dies that almost as if God has abandoned him, he unfairly became King through illegal acts this is dramatic irony we see many times throughout the play because he had lost Gods faith he felt alone and even more reassuring him that his demise the guilt and lonliness took and toll on Macbeths mind and later during the play he becomes paranoid that everyone is after him and are suspicious of him making him feel even more lonely as during this time, Lady Macbeth has also become paranoid, crazy full of guilt referring to what Macbeth said that nothing can wash the blood from her hands during her sleepwalking, which is another incredible use of dramtic irony at first Macbeth was lost and not determined and his mental state was deterioting, exclaiming how he will never wash the blood from his hand while Lady Macbeth would never be caught being so cowardly. By the end of the play Lady Macbeth has completely lost and yelling out exactly what Macbeth said (while sleepwalking) before that nothing will wash away the blood where the famous “Out, damned spot!” and eventually the guilt consumes her and she kills herself.
William Shakespeare using the techniques (language techniques) for example metaphors and dramatic irony he has convey the message of how during the play Macbeth’s mental state goes for a rollercoaster going from stable to downward plunge during the time just after Duncans death and just before in which case he wasn’t sure of anything he was doing mostly Lady Macbeth that did most of the work to it rising back up at which he accepts what he has done as wrong and knows what he has to do and determined to do it.

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Hi Ethan,

    There are some areas of concern in terms of identifying specific language features and articulating your ideas that I’d like to discuss with you in person. When we’re next in class, make sure I come over and explore these with you.


  2. Monday was a public Holiday so no one was here and then on Tuesday i went to the verbatim play so missed the period then.

    • This means that Tuesday 12 June is your deadline. By the way, I encourage you to use quotations of much shorter length – a line is usually plenty – and keep them embedded within your paragraphs.


  3. Oh, and don’t forget to break your work into separate paragraphs!

  4. Achievement Achievement with Merit Achievement with Excellence
    Develop and structure ideas in formal writing.

    Use language features appropriate to audience and purpose in formal writing.

    Develop and structure ideas convincingly in formal writing.

    Use language features appropriate to audience and purpose with control in formal writing.

    Develop and structure ideas effectively in formal writing.

    Use language features appropriate to audience and purpose with control to command attention in formal writing.

    Not Achieved

    The ideas are valid in relation to Macbeth, however your structure often occludes the information you’re trying to convey, and there are some intrusive lapses in sentence construction and mechanical accuracy.


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