This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Importance Of Sleep In Shakespeare's Macbeth

964 words - 4 pages

Macbeth:  The Importance of Sleep

 

Macbeth   Sleep is a time when our minds are at rest and the subconscious comes out to play.  Sleep is oftentimes considered the place where we are able to see into our future and perhaps figure out how to solve our problems.  Sleep is also what heals and cures our minds and bodies.  Without sleep we slowly begin to disintegrate.  Mind and body no longer cooperate without the healing force sleep brings with it.  Shakespeare uses sleep both as a reward and as a consequence in his plays.  If a character is innocent and pure, he is allowed restful, fulfilling sleep.  If the character lacks these traits of goodness, he is condemned to a lifetime of insomnia and other problems.  In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, the reader can see this idea manifest itself in many different ways.  From the beginning, when Macbeth hears the voice to the end of the play when Lady Macbeth sleepwalks, the reader sees many examples of this use of sleep. 

        

One first encounters the idea of sleep in Macbeth when the central character, Macbeth, murders the sleeping king.  After the murder, Macbeth believes he hears a voice cry out, "Sleep no more… Glamis hath murder'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more"(II.ii.58-60)! At this point the reader does not really think much of this warning, assuming it to merely be Macbeth's guilty conscience rather than anything important.  But as the signs of the voice's prophecy begin to surface like the symptoms of a disease, Macbeth slowly becomes irrational and ruthless.  This is partially due to the, "terrible dreams, that shake [him] nightly” which serve as a symbolic reason for why Macbeth is unable to sleep.  In killing a [peacefully] sleeping king, Macbeth has murdered his own [peaceful] sleep. 

A second effect of sleeplessness is seen in Macbeth's lack of trust for mortals. Macbeth no longer seems able to trust his old friends, or anyone else for that matter; his lack of sleep develops into paranoia.  He orders the murder of Banquo and keeps it from Lady Macbeth, his partner in this entire evil feat.  Both of these events of distrust show a lack of good judgment.  Together, they again show that Macbeth’s lack of sleep is greatly affecting the way that he thinks, because he would never have acted in this way before.  By ordering the death of Banquo, Macbeth slips deeper into the grasp of evil.  As well, keeping this behavior from Lady Macbeth distances Macbeth from the one person who thought the same way as he did and who, even in the end, would defend him and his actions.   

Yet another effect of his self-inflicted insomnia is Macbeth's naiveté when it comes to the witches.  He seems to believe everything that the three...

Find Another Essay On Importance of Sleep in Shakespeare's Macbeth

The Importance of the Three Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

2218 words - 9 pages The Importance of the Three Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Works Cited Missing The witches, who are also known as the three sisters, play an important part in the play 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare. I will discuss what impact the witches gave to the Elizabethans and what impact

Sleep imagery in shakespeare's Macbeth to develop themes innocence, nature and guilt

736 words - 3 pages Sleep is a period of rest and revitalization, without it, a person will become very weak and start to go insane. The story of Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare in the Elizabethan, tells the tale of a man who was tempted by weird sisters to ambition and a greed for power. Macbeth killed the king to gain his throne. However after the murder Macbeth is unable to sleep properly. Sleep is one of the key images which recur throughout the play

Change of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

2593 words - 10 pages Change of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Throughout the course of the play, Macbeths character changes from good to evil. As the audience we are given plenty of opportunities to look at the way in which he changes and the influences that help bring about the alteration in character. Shakespeare also uses dramatic devises to highlight Macbeths change. In this essay I am going to explore

Downfall of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

1683 words - 7 pages Downfall of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Macbeth This play is a tragedy. In this essay I will discuss what effect the witches, lady Macbeth and Macbeth have on the rise and fall of Macbeth. Macbeth at the beginning of the play is successful warrior in the Scottish army. The king of Scotland, Duncan, hears of Macbeth's bravery and he calls him a 'Valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!' (Act 1 scene 2, line 24). This

The character of Macbeth in Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

1131 words - 5 pages The Macbeth character in Macbeth by William Shakespeare can be played many ways. Macbeth's relationship with other characters in the play and Aristotle's theory of a tragedy are ways in which Macbeth is shown as a tragic hero.At the very beginning of the play, Macbeth and Banquo are returning to Scotland from a fierce battle between the Norwegians and the Scottish. They have just won the war for Duncan. This shows a noble virtue of Macbeth, a

The Downfall Of Macbeth In Shakespeare's Macbeth

1771 words - 8 pages People and decisions can greatly affect the outcome of a person's life determining whether the outcome will be successful or disastrous. In the Shakespeare play of Macbeth, there are two factors that contributed to Macbeth's ruin. One of them being more to blame: The influential character of Lady Macbeth displaying temptation towards Macbeth, or Macbeth's own ambitious and insecure nature. There are questions whether Macbeth's downfall might

Sleep Motif In Macbeth

1460 words - 6 pages Palsgrove 1Kelsey PalsgroveApril 8, 2013Brit Lit2nd DraftSleeplessness to Nightmare to Sleepwalking to Death: The Consequences of Evil Actions in MacbethWilliam Shakespeare's Macbeth tells the tragic story about a great warrior, Macbeth, who gives into temptation to prophecies about him becoming future king by the three witches. After Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, commit the murder of King Duncan, their faith has been decided for them

Character Analylis of Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth

1044 words - 4 pages Cawdor.' Lady Macbeth convinced her husband to murder Duncan by putting his manhood and courage at stake (I,7, 'When you durst do it, then you were a man;/ And to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man'). As Macbeth started degrading he lost some bravery (IV, 1, 'That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies'). In his fight with Macduff, some of his old courage and strength returned.Macbeth could be brave when it came to

Sleep in Macbeth

725 words - 3 pages Sleep, as a bodily function, regulates how the body heals itself and how people process events in their lives. Disruption of sleep can cause mild symptoms such as dizziness to a slight loss of fine motor skills to full on hallucinations. It is in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth that sleep plays very different roles in order to influence the plot; in this Scottish play, sleep, in its absence, is a way to express thoughts about troublesome events, a

Importance of Sleep

1187 words - 5 pages Importance of Sleep It has been proposed, by some, that humans do not really need to sleep, and that we do so only out of habit. However, much research would suggest otherwise. It is true that some individuals (e.g. those suffering from insomnia) are able to live on very small amounts of sleep, but nevertheless, they do need some. Studies of sleep deprivation have found that there may be severe consequences of not

The Importance of Sleep

2272 words - 9 pages treated. Other types of sleep disorders can be grown out of, or lived with without effecting one’s life. However, it is important to treat severe disorders to prevent oneself from getting a lack of sleep. The brain and body functions in a different manner during sleep then during the waking hours. During sleep, energy is replenished and energy saving organs repair themselves in the body. The brain moves new information to a more permanent memory

Similar Essays

The Importance Of Sleep In Macbeth

891 words - 4 pages pointing towards the room of King Duncan. Macbeth sees this as a sign to continue with the plan to murder him. After King Duncan is dead, Macbeth hears a voice saying,”Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!/Macbeth does murder sleep,’ the innocent sleep,/Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,/The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,/Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,/Chief nourisher in life's feast (2.2.32-37

Bloodmac Importance Of Blood In Shakespeare's Macbeth

1378 words - 6 pages Importance of Blood in Macbeth        In Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth, the symbol of blood is an important device.  The fundamental physical notion of blood is a stark sign of illness or mishap that all humans must share.  Within Macbeth the imagery of blood is used over and over again and it is developed by Shakespeare until it becomes not only a dominating theme but wholly integrated within the plot.   Perhaps the best way

Free Macbeth Essays: The Importance Of Sleep

593 words - 2 pages The Importance of Sleep in Macbeth     The image of sleep is consistently mentioned in Macbeth with the intention of creating a symbolic importance.  Macbeth himself notes that the sleep he discusses with us, is that that ‘knits up’, meaning the sleep which smoothes out and pieces together. Macbeth recites this after he has spoken to Lady Macbeth directly after he committed the bloody murder of King Duncan.  He

The Importance Of The Witches In Shakespeare's Macbeth

1677 words - 7 pages There is no doubt that the witches predictions and apparitions in the tragedy by William Shakespeare, "Macbeth" does not just play a significant role - in fact, at first glance, witches determine the development of the plot. There are three apparitions that the witches use trick Macbeth and drive the plot. However, the meaning of the prophecies in the tragedy is much more serious than it appears at a superficial glance with the work of the