Double, Double

A recurring motif in the language and images of Macbeth is the idea of the double (as in many of Shakespeare’s plays). Shakespeare uses many phrases and images to explore this idea. Remember, doubles can be pairs, reflections or opposites. They can even be puns (when a word has a double meaning), or hendiadys (when two words with the same meaning are used in quick succession).

1) Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth, referring to King Duncan:

He’s here in double trust

(Act 1, Scene 7)

Where and when does this happen in the story? What does Macbeth mean by this? What are the two forms of trust he is referring to?

2) Find other phrases or images that Shakespeare uses in the play that reference the idea of the double. List a quote for each example and explain the two meanings intended.

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