Shakespeare uses language in several ways to show us Macbeth’s emotions and behaviour. In the first scene Macbeth is concerned that although he has killed Duncan,there are those that suspect him and may cause him harm in the future.He uses the metaphor of a ‘scorched’snake that has only been wounded and will fight again another day as a metaphor for his situation.This reference to poisonous or dangerous creatures is repeated later in the scene when Macbeth says ‘o’full of scorpions in my mind,dear wife!’which sounds like the anguished cry of someone who cannot find peace.You can imagine him clutching his head on stage.
Another way Macbeth’s feelings are described is when he talks about sleep.Sleep is mentioned lots of times in the play so it is obviously on Macbeth’s mind,which is not surprising considering he has committed murder.’eat our meal in fear and sleep’which references how much he’s worrying.In this scene he talks about how it is ‘better’ to be with the dead who have been sent ‘to peace’.He mentions that Duncan now ‘sleeps well’ almost as if he envies the people he has murdered.
In the same scene,there are some particularly strong descriptions of night time made by Macbeth.He mentions things to do with the night-the ‘bat’,the ‘shard-borne beetle’ and later the ‘crow’ and the ‘th’rooky wood’.These are all ‘black agents’ of the night and through Macbeth’s mention of them he is kind of associating himself with them.Therefore,although he can’t sleep-he wants night to come because it is when he can commit murder.The scene ends with him hiding information from his wife-he reveals no more that that he is going to do a ‘dead of dreadful note’.This is powerful because we know what Macbeth has planned ,but Lady Macbeth doesn’t ,through the use of dramatic irony.
The second scene is very different because Banquo has been murdered and you think that maybe Macbeth will now be a little more relaxed and feel safe.But when he sees the ghost of Banquo even though he tries to cover up his feelings he cannot.’avaunt and quit my sight!let the earth hide thee!thy bones are marrowless,thy blood is cold’.These descriptions of the @living-but dead’ Banquo really shows how Macbeth is shaking.He cannot believe how real it is.’can such thing be/and overcome us like a summer’s cloud?’
This simile links to other descriptions of day and night,light and darkness that have surfaced in the play.Macbeth then goes on to talk about the supernatural and seems almost to be talking in a witch-like spell-‘blood will have blood.stones have been known to move and trees to speak.’
From this,and all his reference to night and creatures of the night,it seems as if Macbeth is feeling and behaving like a devilish creature himself so that at the end of the scene it is not surprising when he uses the metaphor of being ‘stepped in so far’in blood,like a river crossing,so that he can’t go back.
He ends his last verse speech with a couplet as if he has made up his mind and can’t now change things’strange things i have in head that will to hand/which must be acted ere they may be scanned’.