As the queen commented,“ The sleeping and the dead are but as pictures…” (2.2.52-53). In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the word “sleep” is used to establish several moods such as horrific, peaceful, and fearful.
Fearful is another mood created by the word “sleep”. Lady Macbeth believes that “… Had he not resembled my father so much as he slep’t I had don’t…”(2.2.13-14). Lady Macbeth is saying that if Duncan hadn’t resembled her father so much she would have killed Duncan herself. What Lady Macbeth is saying gives the readers the creeps, and puts them into a fearful mood. Macbeth is saying how Duncan lived a full life so it didn’t matter if he died or not. Macbeth stated “ Duncan is in his grave after life’s fit fell fever he slept we;;”(3.2.24-25). Macbeth is saying that who cares if he died he lived a full life, whicc sounds kind of heartless. Macbeth keeps hallucinating and he can’t sleep. So he pretends like everything is fine so he can sleep again. He believes “ Thou shall not live, that I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies, And sleep in spite of thunder”(4.1.87-89). He is saying that by having Macduff killed he can conquer his own fear, so he can sleep easy at night.
Shakespeare offers these disturbing ideas about sleep, leaving the audience reconsidering its general appeal. Ultimately he illuminates the phrase “ I’m dying for a nap”!
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