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Word Count: 578
The Guilt of Sleep Shakespeare uses sleeplessness to represent the ever-increasing guilt of Macbeth and his wife throughout the play At the beginning with the murder of Duncan when Macbeth wishes that someone could wake Duncan Then later when Macbeth notes that the soon to be murdered Banquo is lucky because he will sleep These are just some examples Shakespeare opens his theme of sleeplessness with the witches as they talk of a sailors wife that would not share They punish the sailor by plaguing his wife with the fault of his trouble sleep shall neither night nor day hang upon his penthouse lid The theme continues as Macbeth plans to frame the kings guards and says When we have marked with blood those sleeps two It is important to notice that the groomsmen are sleeping showing that they do not carry the guilt Sleep presents it self more strongly however in the next act The act opens with Banquo mentioning that a heavy summons lies like lead upon me yet I would not sleep as Macbeth comes near Macbeth is already carrying the idea of murdering the king and is deciding if he should follow through Banquos quote makes this apparent Later Macbeth is about to murder Duncan and lady Macbeth says the grooms do mock their charge with snores The grooms remain innocent of the deed and thus remain asleep Similar is the innocence of Duncan when Lady Macbeth notes that he resembled my father as he slept Even Duncans children accent Macbeths guilt as he hear one say Murder then say his prayers and go back to sleep Macbeth really begins to feel his guilt right after he murders Duncan when he hears a voice say Sleep no more Macbeth does murder sleep- the innocent sleep Sleep that knits up the ravelld sleave of cars It is not much of a stretch to see how sleep becomes innocence and Macbeth has
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