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When I’m too tired, my body feels like I no longer have control over it-like I no longer have control over anything in life actually. Macbeth is a play about a man who craves power and is willing to do anything to achieve it even kill. The character, Macbeth, commits murder, alongside his wife and it affects his ability to sleep. Sleep is a major symbol in the play as it represents a person’s inability to deal with their guilt for crimes they have committed within Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
The first time we see sleep, or the inability to sleep, as a symbol in the play is in Act 1, Scene 3, lines 18-20, where one of the witches says, “I’ll drain him dry as hay/ Sleep shall neither night nor day/ hang upon his penthouse lid.” This quote means that witches are planning on punishing Macbeth for the crimes he plans to commit against King Duncan; they do not want him to be able to live with himself after his crimes.
Sleep is an important element to surviving in life. Without sleep, people become paranoid, they start to act oddly, and they lose their sense of reality; in the play, Macbeth loses his connection to reality and decides to kill King Duncan, his best friend Banquo, and eventually gets himself killed because he gets sucked into a disconnect from his real life.
The second time the play expresses sleep deprivation as a symbol is in Act 3, Scene 2 in the stage directions where Lady Macbeth and her husband discuss the troubled thoughts and bad dreams thy have had since Duncan’s murder, however they agree to hide their dark emotion at the night’s banquet.
This is important because we start to see how the murder of Duncan and the two servants have begun to really affect the Macbeth household – neither of the two killers are as strong as they appeared to be at the beginning of the story, and they were really fronting with each other. The “power couple” was not filled with power, but instead with guilt and a lack of bravery. Neither Macbeth or Lady Macbeth were able to stand up to the pressure of the guilt that they were under that they felt after the murders they committed in their home. The final time that we see a lack of sleep affecting the main characters in Macbeth is in In the scene in which Lady Macbeth sleepwalks, her waiting gentlewoman explains to a doctor that she has seen the lady ride from her bed throw her nightgown upon her unlock her closet, take forth paper fold it write upon read it afterward seal it and again return to bed yet all this while in a most fast sleep.
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