Act 2 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

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Act 2 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare's Macbeth

The main theses in Act 2 Scene 2 are good and evil, light and dark, ambition, time, clothing, blood, sleep and chaos and order. The whole atmosphere of Macbeth is one of violence horror and fear, and this atmosphere is accomplished by use of darkness. Darkness symbolizes chaos, evil, treachery, disorder and going against nature which is seen as the light, innocence or the good. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are creatures of the dark. The murder of the King is set at night; this immediately gives us a feeling of foreboding. The noises of the night, the shriek of the owl and the eerie noise of the crickets that herald death, increases the tension as Lady
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However he has murdered a sleeping, innocent man. He says:-

“Sleep no more!

Macbeth does murder sleep- the innocent sleep

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care”.

He realizes that now that he has murdered the king he will no longer sleep the refreshing sleep of the innocent. This leaves us in suspense wondering what form this sleeplessness will take. It also sets the scene for the later references to sleep. For example where Lady Macbeth walks in her sleep acting out the kings murder and Macbeths nightmares.

Another major theme is that if uncontrolled ambition triumphs over what is right and good then the person is doomed. It is Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s ambition that leads to their later downfall. The scene begins with Lady Macbeth nervously waiting for her husbands return from killing the King. This is the first sign that she has a conscience; this will come to haunt her later. However when Macbeth enters her ambitious nature takes control and she calmly tells him to wash away the blood truing to dismiss his fears.

“This deed must not be thought

After these ways; so, it will make us mad.”

This gives us a feeling of foreboding that her ambition will eventually bring madness.

Blood and murder are also major themes. They add to the suspense and horror of the play.
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