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Alexis Johnson

Mrs. Davenport

English 9H

7 March 2017

Lady Macbeth Essay

When persuading someone, people typically use specific techniques to persuade the

audience to believe the viewpoint. Act 1 Scene 7 focuses on Lady Macbeth attempting to

convince Macbeth to kill the king, Duncan. In the tragedy Macbeth by Shakespeare, literary

devices such as metaphor, pathos, and rhetorical question are used to persuade Macbeth,

ultimately teaching the reader to follow ones original morals.

To convince Macbeth, Lady Macbeth uses the literary device of metaphor. Lady Macbeth

uses a metaphor to compare her actions to Macbeths by using a similar situation. For instance,

Have pluckd my nipple from his boneless gums/ And dashd the brains out, had I so sworn as

you/ Have done this (1.7.63-65). Lady Macbeth is stating, for one, she would stay true to her

word. By doing so, she is trying to make Macbeth feel guilt for not holding a promise to his wife.

Furthermore, Lady Macbeth is also stating she would kill her own child to please Macbeth.

Likewise, the purpose is to make Macbeth feel guilt for not committing murder to please Lady

Macbeth, as she would do for him. In conclusion, Lady Macbeth applies the use of metaphor to

coerce Macbeth.

When changing Macbeths mind, Lady Macbeth also appeals to pathos. Pathos is used to

persuade by appealing to ones emotions. In Act 1 Scene 7, Lady Macbeth does this by

indicating Macbeth isnt masculine. Within the passage, When durst do it, then you were a

man;/ And to be more than what you were, you would/ Be so much more than a man (1.7.55-

57). Lady Macbeth is stating that in order to be a man in her eyes, he must follow through with
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the murder. Her goal in saying so is to make Macbeth doubt his masculinity. This ultimately

makes him believe he must kill Duncan to be manly and reach her standards. Overall, Lady

Macbeth appeals to pathos in order to persuade Macbeth into executing the plan.

To win over Macbeth, rhetorical questions are used by Lady Macbeth. Rhetorical

question is asking a question in order to make a point rather than looking for an answer or

response. While Lady Macbeth justifies her reasoning, rhetorical question is used various times.

For one instance, What cannot you and I perform upon/ Th unguarded Duncan? (1.7.77-78).

By saying so, Lady Macbeth is implying they are capable of doing anything to Duncan. Her

intent is to give Macbeth confidence to ensure he believes he can do it. Lady Macbeth uses the

word they in the quote to manipulate Macbeths mind into thinking they are in this together.

However, in the end, Macbeth is the one committing the crime and is the one seen as suspicious,

as Lady Macbeth is seen as innocent and shouldnt even hear of such a matter. To conclude, Lady

Macbeth uses rhetorical question to convince Macbeth to have confidence.

Resources of language such as metaphor, pathos, and rhetorical question are used to

coerce Macbeth to commit murder, teaching the audience to follow original instincts. In Act 1

Scene 7, Lady Macbeth successfully convinces Macbeth to follow through with her murder plan.

To successfully do this she used literary devices, which are generally used to create an effective

persuasive speech.

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