Sleep And Death In Macbeth Essay

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Shakespeare’s Macbeth centers around the character Macbeth who, after assassinating the Scottish king Duncan, takes that title for himself. The play depicts the following effects on Macbeth’s personality and outlook on life as he slowly detaches from reality and is driven mad. In Macbeth the images of sleep are repeatedly employed in close connection to death—both as specific events in the play, and as a theme used throughout. During the course of the play the images of sleep evolve with the tone of the play and change as the play progresses and become darker with certain events that occur. The processes of sleep and death, which are similar both physiologically and spiritually, reflect each other throughout the play and provide a symbolic aspect to its morbidity. In the beginning of the play, before King Duncan’s murder, the image of sleep is almost always accompanied by images of blood or death, foreshadowing the coming assassination of Duncan. In the end of Act I, after Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, are planning to kill Duncan while he sleeps, after getting…show more content…
Throughout the play, the theme of death coincides with images and uses of sleep; this correlation, although used in many different ways, always comes back to the symbolic and spiritual relationship between sleep and death. In the beginning of the play, before Duncan is killed, images of sleep are used to foreshadow Duncan’s death, and afterwards they are used to talk about his death and its implications; in the end of the play they are used to foreshadow Lady Macbeth’s death, and its irrelevance, just like they were used concerning Duncan’s murder. In these instances, sleep and death are often used interchangeably in speech, and the physical similarities between the two is consistently highlighted to call attention to the importance of the connections such as Duncan’s death and Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s fall into
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