Theme of Sleep in Macbeth

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The image of sleep is consistently mentioned in Macbeth with the intention of creating a symbolic importance. It is natural to want to sleep after working hard. If something goes wrong or if the conscience feels guilt, the body will not let the person rest. The conscience keeps the person awake to think about his sins and keep torturing him until he confesses. In the play Macbeth, William Shakespeare uses images of sleep to show the guilt of Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's conscious. They no longer have the natural healthy, normal sleep. Their sleep is made up of nightmares and other disturbances. Macbeth obsesses over whether or not he will be able to sleep even before he kills King Duncan, because sleep is something that he knows he will need in order to feel peaceful and well-rested. "Nature seems dead and wicked dreams abuse/ The curtained sleep." [II.1.62] Macbeth is describing how he feels that his decision to kill Duncan is already haunting him, and that the world seems skewed because of it. He worries that "wicked dreams abuse the curtained sleep," or that his dark and murderous thoughts are disturbing his own rest. Macbeth is talking about sleep as something precious, peaceful, and sought after, which is evident because of how worried he is; he wants an uninterrupted period of rest, but he is afraid that it'll be out of his reach if he kills Duncan. Once he actually kills Duncan, Macbeth starts hearing voices inside his head: "Sleep no more!/Macbeth does murder sleepthe innocent sleep,/ Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care/, The death of each day's life..." [II. 2.47] Here, sleep is being used in a positive, restorative sense. It's what rejuvenates men and women, yet Macbeth has "murdered sleep" and cannot rest because he is guilty of a heinous crime. Macbeth is truly worried that he will not be able to reach a state of peace again because King

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