Theme of sleep


The theme of sleep is used throughout the play Macbeth several different times. It affects Macbeth and Lady Macbeth the most and these examples are shown below.

Examples of sleep throughout Macbeth.

1. Macbeth tries to talk Banquo into supporting him in something having to do with the witches prophecies by giving him a reward.

2. Macbeth killed Duncan while he was sleeping.

3. After killing Duncan, Macbeth feels that when he murdered Duncan in his sleep, he murdered sleep itself.

4. After Macduff has discovered the bloody body of King Duncan, he tells Banquo and the King's sons to awake, to "Shake off this downy sleep, death’s counterfeit, / And look on death itself!" (2.3.76-77). Macduff then rings an alarm bell and Lady Macbeth enters, asking "What's the business, / That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley / The sleepers of the house?" (2.3.81-83).

5. After Macbeth sends the two murderers out to kill Banquo, Macbeth can’t sleep anymore. He tells his wife that he will tear the world apart rather than continue to "eat our meal in fear and sleep / In the affliction of these terrible dreams /That shake us nightly" (3.2.17-19). He goes on to say that it would better to be dead than "on the torture of the mind to lie / In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave; / After life's fitful fever he sleeps well" (3.2.23). Macbeth has terrible dreams, he can't sleep, and he feels like he's going crazy.

6. Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost.

7. When Macbeth is told that he must beware of Macduff, Macbeth swears that Macduff "shalt not live; / That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies / And sleep in spite of thunder" (4.1.83-86). It's hard for Macbeth to sleep, and now he thinks that one more murder will fix everything

8. Lady Macbeth sleep walks and confesses the murderers but they don't really know what she is talking about.

A more in-depth look at sleep throughout Macbeth.