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Allusion in Macbeth

Allusion Examples in Macbeth:

Act I - Scene II


"Or memorize another Golgotha..."   (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.

"gospell'd..."   (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.

"We are yet but young in deed...."   (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.

"Finger of birth-strangled babe..."   (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?..."   (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.

"Bring it after me...."   (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.

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