Why Is Sleep Important In Macbeth

Words: 524
Pages: 3

In Macbeth, William Shakespeare used many motifs to reveal a major theme or plot of a story. One of the major motifs that occurred throughout the play was sleep. One theme within sleep was ambition. Sleep played a major role in Macbeth. The role of sleep in the play is supposed to wash away all of the guilt and all of the troubles in the past days that are going to be put behind. When individuals do sleep, they do not have to worry about the guilts and troubles. But when Macbeth kills Duncan, he says, “Methought I heard a voice cry, ‘Sleep no more! / Macbeth does murder sleep...’” (2.2.33-34). This meant that Macbeth could not sleep how he usually slept because his mind haunted him from killing Duncan. When he did kill Duncan, he became overly guilty of what he had done, and every noise frightened him. For example, after the murder, there was knocking at the door, “Knock within / Whence is that knocking? / How is't with me when …show more content…
At first, the witches told Macbeth, “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis! / All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! / All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, that shalt be king hereafter...” (1.3.49-51). Ambition and sleep came into play because Macbeth’s ambition to become king grew terribly worse, so that anyone who would get in his way would be killed, like Duncan or Banquo. For example, when the First Apparition told Macbeth, “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. / Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough...” (4.1.71-72), Macbeth ordered to kill Macduff and his family. Macbeth’s ambition grew so worse that he would kill anyone who got in his way and this was because of his lack of sleep. Even though he says, “Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse / Is the initiate fear that wants hard use. / We are yet but young in deed...” (3.4.142-144), he still did not sleep normally because of Macbeth “murdering” sleep. Even though he thought it would help, it did not help