Sleep in Macbeth

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A Living Nightmare
* Humans look forward to it from the moment they are woken up by the buzzing of their alarm clock each morning. Without it, we grow more and more agitated as time slowly passes by. Sleep is that which relieves us of the stress and exhaustion that each day brings about, and prepares us to start a new day. This has been true since the beginning of time, and is made evident in Shakespeare’s, Macbeth. Through out history, sleep has been that which keeps all lives in order. Through the loss of innocent sleep, Macbeth becomes unable to cope with the madness occurring in his life, this nightmare eventually leads to their ultimate demise. * Macbeth’s basic idea of sleep is shown when he first realizes that it is a basic life function that he may never be able to take part in again. He tells his wife, “The innocent sleep, sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, the death of each day’s life, sore labours bath, balm of hurt minds, great natures second course, chief nourisher of life’s feast” (II, i, 59). Macbeth reveals much of what is commonly known to be the benefits of sleep; it heals our minds and nourishes our weakened bodies. Sleep also allows one to regain order in their life. Lady Macbeth is aware of this and tells Macbeth saying, “You lack the season of all natures, sleep” (III, iv, 167). Through losing his ability to sleep Macbeth creates a great amount of disorder in his life and the lives of his countrymen. * Fearful of the vulnerability it creates, Banquo refuses to allow himself to sleep. Confiding in his young son Banquo shares, “A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, and yet I would not sleep” (II, i, 7-8). Having been in combat along side Macbeth just a day or two before, it is only natural for Banquo to be exhausted and desiring sleep. However, he recognizes that Duncan was killed so easily, because it was done at a time when he left himself susceptible to all attackers. He fears that Macbeth will inevitably take...
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