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The Importance Of Sleep In Macbeth

891 words - 4 pages

Macbeth- a dark, powerful tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It is fill with ambition, desire, conspiracies, corruption and death. It tells of a brave Scottish general who was walking through the woods when he received his prophecy from 3 witches. Consumed with desire and ambition he sets out to make the prophecy to come true. He murders King Duncan and is consumed with guilt. He becomes a Tyrant in order hide his murder. This only makes him murder more. By the end of the play, it seems as if everyone was murdered. But could all of this been avoided if the characters would have just got a good night’s sleep? It’s a strong possibility.
The first time we see a character state they aren’t getting sleep is in Act2 when Banquo and Fleance are walking the halls or Macbeth’s castle. Banquo says, "A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, / And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers, / Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature / Gives way to in repose! (2.1.6-9).” Even though Banquo does not say what is keeping him awake, it is left to assume it has to the witches’ prophesies since that is what is brought up as soon as Macbeth walked up. After Macbeth telling Banquo not to worry about the witches they say good night and go their separate ways. The minute Banquo leaves, Macbeth’s eyes fall upon a hallucination of a dagger 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).” Macbeth uses the metaphor ravell’d sleave to show how he has so many thoughts that he will never find the end of them. He also compares sleep to a warm bath after a long day’s work, something to calm the brain down when things go crazy. He uses this speech to foreshadow that he will not find comfort from his thought because, “sleep no more!”
It is a little bit longer before we see a dramatic insomniac provoke paranoia action. In Act 3 Macbeth recalled what the sisters said about Banquo’s sons gaining the crown, and in order to protect his crown, Macbeth hires two men to kill Banquo. Just after...

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