Examples Of Lack Of Sleep In Macbeth

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In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, sleep or lack thereof shows a character’s hidden struggles and develops their downfall. In Shakespeare's time, not much was known about sleep; despite this, people knew it was normal. The inability to sleep was mostly foreign to them, something unnatural. To show the extent of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s insanity, Shakespeare had them experience insomnia and hallucinations, which put focus on the fall of their composure. Sleep and insomnia give the audience insight on characters’ thoughts, worries, and guilt. Macbeth, through his lack of sleep, displays his deteriorating sanity. Sleep itself is a calm and rejuvenating experience, a time for peace and rest of the mind. Lady Macbeth describes sleep as “the season …show more content…

She was also calling Duncan and his guards defenseless while in the vulnerable state of sleep. Lady Macbeth is taking advantage of their vulnerable sleep to kill Duncan. When the Lady Macbeth commits the murder of Duncan, guilt fills her mind. Sleep, which should be her most peaceful time of the day, now becomes “a great perturbation in nature,” full of anxiety and torture. Her hallucinations while sleepwalking build her growing insanity, and she has completely lost grip of reality. Banquo, having heard the prophecies of the witches, is uneasy. He has a “ heavy summons” that “lies like lead upon me.” Banquo is describing how fatigued he is, and despite this, he has the inability to sleep. Macbeth has stripped him of his rest and safety. Macbeth then enters the scene, and Banquo tells him he “dreamt last night of the three weird sisters,” showing that instead of peace, Banquo's mind was filled with uncertainty and fear. Banquo struggles to discover Macbeth’s true motives and know with certainty the truth of the Weird Sisters’

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