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Home > English > Macbeth > Blank verse and rhyme, dramatic irony and imagery


Blank verse and rhyme, dramatic irony and imagery


  • Imagery is used a lot in Macbeth. This is when strong pictures or ideas are created in our minds. For instance, the play has lots of references to darkness, to sleep, to disease and even to blood. Imagery often describes one thing in terms of another, and there are three main ways this happens:

  • Metaphors is when one thing is called something else. For instance, when Macbeth wants to defend his lands against others, he uses metaphors from medicine - he wants to find the 'disease' (Act 5, scene 3, line 51) in Scotland, to restore it to 'health' (Act 5, scene 3, line 52) and to use a 'drug' (Act 5, scene 3, line 55) against others.

  • Personification is where something is described as if it is human, so the "Dark night strangles the travelling lamp". (Act 2, scene 4, line 7).

  • Similes is when a direct comparison is made (with 'as', 'than' or 'like'), so Banquo says that the witches "look not like the inhabitants o'the'earth"(Act 1, scene 3, line 41) or Macbeth says something "moves like a ghost". (Act 2, scene 1, line 56).



A detail from the introductory screen of the Hazard Perception game.

Hazard Perception sharpens your English knowledge



Have a go at Hazard Perception. The game has been designed to give you practise in quickly recognising many language forms, such as slang, anti-climax, personification, metaphor, jargon and more.





A mock Shakespeare TV interview.

Class Clips

Video clip of a TV interview with Shakespeare, including a rock music video of Sonnet 18


Scene from Macbeth.

Class Clips

Macbeth - Act 1, Scenes 1 and 3


Scene from Macbeth.

Class Clips

Macbeth - Act 5, Scene 1


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