The Connection Between Sleep And Nature In Macbeth

Shakespeare’s Macbeth has an uncanny association between images of nature and sleep. Since sleep is a primary function of all human beings, it makes sense that the play would refer to nature’s results when nature has been thwarted. Macbeth was an honorable and loyal member of King’s court in his natural form. He is promoted to Thane because his predecessor had committed treason. Macbeth starts to rebel against nature after meeting witches. But, the state of nature does not change until Macbeth assassinates the sleeping King Duncan. When “Lord Glamis has murdered sleep”(II. 2. Nature’s downward spiral is accelerated by 41). Macbeth kills Duncan while he sleeps, and thus, sleep itself is murdered.

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I.1.12). “Fairness and unfairness are not the same” (I.1.12). Banquo notices the unnaturalness. Your beards prevent me from interpreting that you are a woman. “(I. 3. Macbeth says that when they vanish, they were unnatural. “And what seemed to be corporal, melted like breath in the air.” (I. 3. Macbeth has proven himself to be a natural fighter. Macbeth becomes unnatural when the witches are introduced. They take him out of his comfort zone and make him consider the possibility of murdering without war. “My single thought of whose murder was yet only fantastical shakes me so much, that I lose my sense of function and everything is just what isn’t.” 3. After Macbeth has murdered their father, Macbeth hears Donalbain, Malcom, and their sleeping children muttering “Murder” in their sleep. Macbeth’s response to the words “God blessing us” is “Amen”. 2. Macbeth was not able to pray because he could not participate in natural acts, like prayer. The witches’ cauldron-casting spell propagates this notion that Christianity is the only natural religion and everything else is unnatural. “Liver from blaspheming Jews?Nose and lips of Turks and Tartars, finger of a birth-strangled baby, ditch delivered by an drab.” (IV.1.26-31). “Liver of blaspheming Jew?Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips, finger, birth-strangled babe, ditch delivered by a drab”(IV.1.26-31).

Macbeth does not become aware of this possibility until he has committed an act that is against the nature. In an attempt to fulfill the prophecy given by the witches, Macbeth kills Duncan while he is sleeping. But by killing sleep, Macbeth also kills himself and his natural state. “Macbeth will no longer sleep!” (II. 2. Macbeth and his cosmos undergo changes. As a result of the murdering “the Lord’s Anointed Temple”, (II.3. The nature is in a frenzy. Lennox explains the wild night. Lennox describes the unruly night. 3. 53-63).

The old guy, when he describes his reaction towards Ross, conveys the sense that Macbeth is not alone in having to deal with this monumental event. “Threescore, ten is the number of hours I can remember clearly. I have also seen strange and horrifying things in that volume. This sore and painful night has diminished my former knowledge.” (II. 4. 1-5). Nature has changed with this death of sleep. The once-existing calmness was also destroyed as people began to feel that they couldn’t have natural relations. Macbeth also suffers from the consequences, in a more personal way, when he constantly returns to his witches and asks them to tell him what will happen next.

Macbeth initially appears to be a brave warrior. However, as time goes on, Macbeth’s character begins to change. Macbeth is still killing, but the manner of his murders has changed. He kills Duncan, the Chamberlains and Banquo while they are sleeping. As his nature begins changing, so does his own. Lady Macbeth suffers the same consequences. She preached Macbeth about repressing his nature so he could do what Macbeth had promised. Her sleeping patterns are also unnatural. “I’ve seen her rise, put on her night-gown, unlock her closet and take out a piece of paper to fold, write onto, read and seal, all while still in a rapid sleep.” (V. She is sleeping, but not resting. Her sleep is also murdered. Macbeth’s murder of sleep has changed the nature.

Macbeth thought that nature was reliable, but he didn’t realize that his own actions against it had proven the opposite. The witches’ apparitions predict that “no woman born will harm Macbeth.” (IV. 1. “Macbeth will never be defeated until the Great Birnam Wood and high Dunsinane Hill come against him.” 1. Macbeth knows that nature will take its course and keep him safe. Malcom, Macduff and others seek revenge for Macbeth’s murder. The predictions of their original prophecies are also fulfilled. Macduff’s troops disguise themselves with branches from Birnam Wood. Macduff also declares, “I was untimely taken out of my mother’s womb.” (V.7.44-45)

Macbeth’s C-section reveals that Macduff has also helped nature in some way, even if it was not positively. The murder of Macduff has caused the emotion to be extinguished, which is a characteristic of the human nature. “My thoughts of slaughter are accustomed to the frightened rage that I feel.” ( V. He has no meaning in life. “Out, short candle! “Out, out, brief candle!” 23- 28). Macbeth uttered this phrase, who had once been so promising as “Brave Macbeth.” 2. 16) Macbeth did not realize that “toads, that are under cold stones days and night have thirty-one sweltered poison sleeping has.” (IV. 1. 6-8). Sleeping is viewed as an open time to be with the world and rest. The man’s role is passive. Macbeth has poisoned the whole state by stealing Duncan’s natural sleeping pattern.

Macbeth was unaware that he can change the nature. Therefore, committing unnatural acts against nature had not bothered him. In doing so, he affected the sleep patterns of everyone in Scotland. Macbeth, the warrior, had been changed by his alteration of nature. Things that were not normal had happened. As a young man, he never had any fear. But as a king, he is ridden. He was once so confident about his future, but now, when he is being held to death on a stake, that confidence has gone. Macbeth never even dabbled with the unnatural. Macbeth had no idea that the challenge was a test, which was why he accepted it. He was unaware that man’s most natural state is sleep and thus he would pursue the unnatural.


  • rosewebb

    Rose Webb is an educational blogger and volunteer who also studies for a degree in law. She loves to write about her experiences and share her knowledge with others, and is passionate about helping others to achieve their goals.

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