Essay On Symbolism Of Sleep In Macbeth

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The Symbol of Sleep in Macbeth
In life, most things are not what they seem to be. In the play Macbeth this is no different. Most things in life have a surface and a deeper meaning. Take sleep for example, it can represent rest on a surface level or something like renewal on a deeper level. In William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, the symbol of sleep undergoes changes as a result of a few plot events that truly shape the play. The symbol transitions from representing vulnerability to peace, and finally to consolation.
During the first couple acts of the play, sleep symbolizing vulnerability relates well to the plot, as people are being taken advantage of in their sleep. In act one of Macbeth, everyone in Scotland is happy and carefree, except
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As act three begins, Macbeth decides that killing Duncan was not enough, and that he needs to kill Banquo so his sons won’t become king. No one but three murderers are aware of his plan, not even his wife knows. In act three scene two Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that although he killed Duncan, there are worse things than death. Macbeth says to Lady Macbeth, “Duncan is in his grave. / After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well” (3.2.25-26). In a short conversation with Lady Macbeth, Macbeth talks about how much simpler it is to be dead instead of alive. While Macbeth lives days and nights filled with the nightmares of his past and future, Duncan is dead, but he gets to rest in peace. At this point in the play, death is better than living, because the world is treacherous and when you die, you can rest in peace. As the play nears its end, sleep takes it final transition from representing peace to representing consolation after many tragic events in the play. As act five begins, Macbeth has just gone to war which causes Lady Macbeth to become distressed. Since then, she has fallen into a deep sleep because she believes it is the only way to deal with her problems. A Gentlewoman has been observing her in her sleep. The Gentlewoman says to a

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