Macbeth Literary Analysis on Sleep

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Macbeth Literary Analysis
The play Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare’s great tragedy filled stories. Throughout the play there are many different themes and symbols; one of the more important ones being sleep. Sleep or mainly sleep deprivation; the act of not getting much sleep, is something that fuels the character it effects, in their actions. During the first act there is not much talk of this particular theme, but the witches do make a very good “prediction” about what will happen to Macbeth: “…I’ll drain him dry as hey: Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang upon his penthouse lid;…” (pg. 305, Lines 18-20). The first witch is saying how the life of him will be drained out, that he will not sleep at night or during the day; these actions are what eventually cause him to go insane.

Act II opens up with Banquo talking to his son Fleance; this is on the night Macbeth murders King Duncan, he says: “A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, And yet would not sleep. Merciful powers, Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature Gives way to in repose!” (pg. 319, Lines 6-9). While Banquo does not say what exactly is bothering his sleep, but we can presume it has something to do with the witches’ predictions. Later in the scene Macbeth suggests to Banquo that he would reward him if he helps him with something related to what the witches said earlier. Banquo seems hesitant, and Macbeth ends with saying: “Good repose the while!” (pg. 320, Line 29), meaning a good night’s sleep, this is somewhat ironic is the story. Following Banquo going to bed, Macbeth has a sleep induced hallucination in which he sees a bloody dagger floating in midair, and he tells himself that it’s not time for this yet: “Now o'er the one half-world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep.” (pg. 320 Lines 49-51) After Macbeth murders King Duncan he is so scared that he can not move, gazing at his bloody hands, he talks to his wife telling her he just left Duncan’s...
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