Good Essays
X-Zandria Henderson
Ms. Maclin
English IV, Block –G
15 November 2013
The Sleepless Night of a Guilty Conscience
Many people find it difficult to sleep with a guilty conscience because the sinful acts that take place in the dark will always come to light. Sleep reoccurs as a common motif throughout English literature for many centuries. Even the most influential writer in all of English literature, William Shakespeare, explores the element of sleep in Macbeth, one of the darkest and most powerful tragedies written in the early 1600’s. In the play, Shakespeare tells the journey of Macbeth and Banquo’s encounter with the Three Witches who predict their futures. The Three Witches prophesy that Macbeth will someday claim his title as
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As Macbeth goes to sit down with his wife, he notices the ghost of Banquo sitting in his chair. When Macbeth sees the ghost in the chair he says, “Blood hath shed ere now, i’th’ olden time…And push us from our stools: this is more strange than such a murder” which shows his hallucination of Banquo revealing his ultimate guilt (III.iv.74-82). The visions Macbeth encounter of Banquo signify his guilt for killing someone close to him in order to claim his victory and ambition for his throne. Macbeth’s guilt also foreshadows even more catastrophic deaths that will later appear in the scenes. Macbeth’s lack of sleep results from him murdering of Banquo which has caused him to suffer the consequence of a guilty conscience.
After Macbeth commits such a treacherous act of murder, he starts to hear voices. Macbeth’s hallucinations make him believe he hears someone crying in his sleep. Filled with fear Macbeth states, “Methought I heard a voice cry…Balm of heart minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast,” which shows the consequence he has to suffer for killing Duncan to proclaim the title as King of Scotland (II. ii.35-40). Macbeth’s guilt from murdering Duncan shows the importance of Macbeth wanting to kill other people to keep his title as king. Macbeth’s guilty conscience allows him to kill others because he does not want people to take away his power as king. Macbeth’s mental sleep result from his obsessive and
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