November 6, 2014


Shakespeare uses a wide variety of dramatic devices in the play Macbeth. A dramatic device Macbeth uses is personification in this extract from Act 2 Scene 1. Macbeth sees a dagger before him which is an illusion and potentially a sign of madness. He says

“Thou marshall’st me the way I was going; and such a instrument I was to use.

Macbeth uses personification by using the object – in this case a knife – as if it were a living being. In this quote Macbeth uses the words “marshall’st me” which means it is guiding him. He says this to the knife which he is imagining to see in front of his eyes. He says to the knife to guide him as a metaphor to control the way he is going. “And such an instrument I was to use” refers to a knife being an instrument and is about to be played. The quote chosen shows hints of remorse even if he continues with the plan to kill King Duncan. In the play Macbeth sees a dagger because he is uncertain whether to kill Duncan or not. He feels weakness if he doesn’t continue with the plan but will feel remorse if he continues so he needs guidance on what he is going to do. He uses the dagger to justify his actions.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Jamie, your work is always impressive and this analysis is no exception.

    I’d like to address some aspects of the mechanics of your writing. In particular the sentence structure. Could you have a look at the sentence:

    “A complex device is personification in this extract from Act 2 Scene 1.”

    and let me know if you can’t think of a way of making it more clear. If you can’t, I’ll help you out.

    This piece clearly meets the criteria for the Discovery badge – so well done. It has now been awarded to you!

    Discovery Badge Unlocked
    Discovery Badge Unlocked

    If you’d like to develop it further and try for the Stage 3 “Figure it out” badge, then you’ll want to add more exploration of why Shakespeare is using this personification with Macbeth at this stage of the play – what’s it telling the audience about Macbeth’s state of mind and what motivates him?



  2. […] students are asked to explore the language effects used by Shakespeare and explain their impact. This example demonstrates how the students unlock achievement for exploring the use of figurative language in a […]


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