Motif Of Sleep In Macbeth

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In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the motif of sleep, a natural process, to demonstrate how the unchecked ambition for unnatural objects cause a loss of innocence. This is evident in Lady Macbeth's confession of her sinful acts and Macbeth's state of mind after Duncan's death. The motif of sleep occurs in the form of sleep talking when Lady Macbeth relives the moments when she plotted the death of Duncan and Lady MacDuff in order to acquire the throne. After Lady Macbeth gets a note from Macbeth that describes the witch's prophecies, she plots Duncan's murder and tries to muster the courage to execute her plan. Pleading in front of supernatural beings, Lady Macbeth begs, "Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood/ Stop up th' access and passage to remorse"(1.4.50-52). Lady …show more content…

The Macbeth's are not related to Duncan by blood, which means Macbeth is not the natural successor to the throne. Fearful of regret and "remorse" for her impending plans, Lady Macbeth begs the supernatural powers to make her blood "thick" to help her avoid the guilt that will succeed the ambition to acquire unnatural objects, in this case Duncan's throne. This unchecked ambition to a throne that was not rightfully theirs results in decades filled with guilt and a loss of innocence. Lady Macbeth often sleep talks- reliving conversations she had about the murders. During one such occasion, she laments, "Out, damned spot, out I say! One. Two./...The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is/she now?-What, will these hands ne'er be clean?"(5.1.37-47) Lady Macbeth views the blood "spot" on her hands as a source of guilt and remorse; her hands will "ne'er be clean." This loss of purity is matched with her loss of sleep. Sleep is seen as a symbol of rejuvenation - a symbol of inner peace, meditation and innocence. Although Lady Macbeth is

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