Act 3, Scene IV
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the banquet scene’s purpose is to show the chaos and inner turmoil within Macbeth as the guilt from his past crimes tears away at his conscience. In essence, the weight of carrying all the guilt and remorse takes a toll on his mental state. This banquet scene is dedicated in showing three themes that are constantly depicted throughout the play. These three themes consist of disorder, justice, and sleep; they all make evident the fact that Macbeth’s character has changed from the previous scenes.
The theme of disorder and chaos in a world of balance rings throughout the banquet scene. The irony behind the scene is that the world of the play takes place in an orderly fashion. Despite what is happening within the mind of Macbeth, the scene begins with a perfectly set and balanced table. The guests are seated in an arrangement, so that “Both sides are even” (III.iv.l.11). Macbeth, however, still suffers from the guilt and remorse after killing his own best friend. When he finds out that the deed is still not done, he proclaims, “Then comes my fit again” (III.iv.l.23). This foreshadows the fact that he will have an actual fit at the banquet in terms of showing his insanity to his guests. As Macbeth’s mind creates the image of Banquo’s ghost, his behavior becomes erratic. Even his royal guests say, “His Highness is not well” (III.iv.l.63). Lady Macbeth tries to conceal his bizarre nature by claiming “The fit is momentary” (III.iv.l.66). However, as the scene continues, Lady Macbeth notices that Macbeth will not recover because “He grows worse and worse” (III.iv.l.144).
“Macbeth does murder sleep” (II.ii.l.48). This is especially made evident because Macbeth’s mind does not rest at all. His mind constantly jumps from thought to thought. In the previous scene, He continuously proclaims, “Sleep no more! Macbeth shall sleep no more” (II.ii.l.57). According to Macbeth, sleep is the “chief nurturer” in life, as it helps rid...
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