Sleeps and Dreams Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 6 July 2017

Sleeps and Dreams

Shakespeare uses sleep as a way of showing emotions such as worry and distress, or as a contrast to ,or, as a sign of death. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses it to show the conflict in Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s minds, with Lady Macbeth eventually committing suicide due to internal torment. He uses dreams and visions in Macbeth to further show signs of the characters deteriorating from a once noble faithful friend of the King to an abhorred tyrant who has let the country fall into despair.

In the play Julius Caesar, Shakespeare uses sleep, dreams and visions to be used as foreshadowing events that are yet to come. In both plays, Shakespeare’s use of dreams and visions are usually followed by acts of betrayal. Sleep and death are linked in Julius Caesar. While not linked nearly as much as in Macbeth, sleep is used sometimes (such as Lucian sleeping with no worries) to indicate a clear mind or as a way of putting dreams into character’s heads to act as a pretence for future plot points.

Dreams and the visions in Macbeth may play to the strengths of other goings on that were occurring at the time the play was penned. James I of England was heavily interested in the Supernatural and things of that nature. Murders tied together with visions of a prophecy tied together with ideas of sleep and death separated by a faint veil comes together into a play that would have fascinated King James. James believed in the Divine Right of Kings, that he was God’s representative on Earth (similar to the Pope).

Macbeth is a play that often shows James’s view of Kingship in the play, one part of that is through Macbeth’s visions of Banquo’s line, a line that James VI of Scotland is to have supposedly came from. An early example of sleep and death going hand in hand is in Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth. Duncan is killed by Macbeth in his sleep. This scene contains images of a murderous slumber and images of distress and worry. Macbeth, having committed Regicide is now in great distress. He has been unable to join in speaking with the men praying and has been hearing a voice cry out.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 6 July 2017

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