How Shakespeare shows Macbeth’s ambition causes his mental state to degenerate through using language techniques and conventions
In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses many examples of different language techniques and conventions to show his intentions. He use techniques like alliteration and personification which I will be identifying from some of Shakespeare’s text. He uses these techniques throughout the play that show the ambition of Macbeth and the degeneration of the characters thoughts because of this ambition. All the quotes I have used are from Act 3, Scene 2 which is after Macbeth had killed Duncan. In this text Macbeth’s mental state is starting to break down and I will be explaining how Shakespeare uses these language techniques to show these ideas in the text.
Also in Act 3, Scene 2 Shakespeare writes “In the affliction of these terrible dreams that shake us nightly.” Which is a personification. When he says “dreams that shake us nightly.” The dreams do not physically shake him but this personification means that the dreams make him scared and worried. It also shows us that Macbeth’s having bad dreams which only came because he killed Duncan. His ambition also caused his mental state to get worse. We can tell from this text that he is definitely thinking about the murder of Duncan and that Macbeth is mentally breaking down by having these dreams.
Another quote from Act 3, Scene 2 Shakespeare writes “Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!” This is a metaphor which Shakespeare uses to show how Macbeth’s feeling mentally. It is a metaphor as it is saying how there are scorpions in his mind but there is not actually any in his mind. It is just referring that Macbeth’s mind is being poisoned from “scorpions” which is affecting his thoughts and how he is functioning mentally. When thinking of “scorpions” I think sharp and painful. In this it is saying Macbeth is going through pain in his head but not physical pain, mental pain. We know this as a fact because Macbeth says it himself and we know this only happened because of his ambition to become king.
As we can see Shakespeare shows us his intentions through using these language techniques like alliteration, personification and metaphors that show us how Macbeth’s mental state is degenerating and that his everyday life is being affected by these thoughts. He shows us that Macbeth cannot sleep “dreams that shake us nightly.” and that his thoughts are mentally affecting him “full of scorpions is my mind” He is also afraid that what he has done will come back to bite him “remains in danger of her former tooth.” As I have shown Shakespeare includes many different language techniques which give his ideas more meaning and makes you think more about what his actual intentions are. He lets us see Macbeth’s ambition and how he is mentally coping with the consequences through his use of language.