Macbeth's Insomnia

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Sleep, it is hard to live with it constantly robbing most people of about a third of their day, but it’s even harder to deal with the consequences of insomnia. We have all had a time where we couldn’t quite fall asleep one night, but for Macbeth this is a constant issue and in his waking hours he has to deal with this guilt that he has brought upon himself by murdering king Duncan. Insomnia causes a variety of problems in the victim to lose focus, impair social interactions, and other similar issues that ultimately hurt the victim or in Macbeth’s case he is the victim of his own decisions. Insomnia causes unimaginable issues for Macbeth in Macbeth; insomnia causes Macbeth to become isolated, to make thoughtless decisions and ultimately succumb to madness.

Due to Macbeth’s insomnia he becomes isolated from society. Macbeth’s isolation is demonstrated clearly in Macbeth after he murders Duncan and anxiously states, “still it cried “sleep no more!” To all the house Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more: Macbeth shall sleep no more” (Shakespeare 2.2.40-42). This is the start of Macbeth’s issues because if he had never murdered Duncan, he could have avoided all the issues to come and immediately he feels picked out because a voice named him specifically and damned him to insomnia. This matters because Macbeth becomes so distraught over the murder of Duncan and almost like a deer in headlights, he is going to get hit because he’s unable to move, but he will not know when his misery will finally be over. “Shakespeare’s metaphor for sleep as the death of each day’s life had a deeper significance than first meets the eye.”(Delany 209) For Macbeth this means that the day that he murdered Duncan will not...

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...d until the late hours of the night. Macbeth is a true example of the complications of insomnia and shows that while most people hate sleep because it robs them of precious time it’s even harder to deal with the complications of insomnia.

Works Cited

Delaney, Bill. "Shakespeare's MACBETH." Explicator 63.4 (2005): 209-211. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 11 Feb. 2010.

Johnson, G. "`ON THE EDGE OF AN ABYSS': THE WRITER AS INSOMNIAC." Virginia Quarterly Review 66.4 (1990): 643-655. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 4 Feb. 2010.

Kinsella, Kate. Prentice Hall Literature Timeless Voices Timeless Themes: the British Tradition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002. 300-388. Print.

McIlvaine, Robert. "A SHAKESPEAREAN ECHO IN "THE TELL-TALE HEART." American Notes & Queries 15.3 (1976): 38.Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 5 Feb. 2010.

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