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Allusion in Macbeth
Allusion Examples in Macbeth:
Act I - Scene II
"Or memorize another Golgotha..." See in text (Act I - Scene II)
Golgotha is known as the place of the skull and is known as the site of Christ's death upon Mount Calvary in Matthew 27:33. The sergeant uses this allusion to illustrate how violent and remorseless Macbeth's army was, wondering if they were trying to make their bloody battlefield as infamous as Golgotha.
Act III - Scene I
"gospell'd..." See in text (Act III - Scene I)
Macbeth asks the murders whether they are so indoctrinated with the lessons from the New Testament that they would not carry out the deed. The lesson he is referring to is one in which Jesus advises that people love and forgive their enemies.
Act III - Scene IV
"We are yet but young in deed...." See in text (Act III - Scene IV)
The deed that Macbeth refers to is bloodshed and he says that they are not experienced enough with it. With this line, he fully indicates his intent to continue to kill others for the sake of his own security.
Act IV - Scene I
"Finger of birth-strangled babe..." See in text (Act IV - Scene I)
According to Christian belief at the time of the play, a child who was born but died or was killed before it was baptized was considered damned and unable to go to heaven like the Turk, Tartar, and the Jew that the witches mention here. Shakespeare has the witches use these ingredients is to show the audience that the witches are brewing an evil and unholy potion.
"What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?..." See in text (Act IV - Scene I)
Macbeth's exclamation alludes to a belief during the reign of James I of England (the Jacobean era) that a thunderclap ("crack") announced the coming of Doomsday ("doom). Essentially, Macbeth thinks that Banquo's children and heirs will reign for a very long time.
Act V - Scene III
"Bring it after me...." See in text (Act V - Scene III)
Since Macbeth called for his armor, several parts of his dialogue have alluded to stage action: "Come, put mine armor on"; "Come, sir, dispatch";"Pull't off, I say." In addition to providing stage directions in dialogue, Shakespeare also helps craft a scene illustrating how restless Macbeth is.