The Importance of the Sleep Walking Scene in Macbeth Essay

The Importance of the Sleep Walking Scene in Macbeth Essay

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Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's problem plays which have puzzled the critics all over the years. It is compact and full of significant scenes, and it has two important characters, Macbeth and his wife. It is a clear study of human nature, which I personally think Shakespeare had mastered. The final act opens with the sleepwalking scene and this scene is of great significance because it reveals the true nature of lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is one of the enigmatic characters. Once she is a woman made out of steel and suddenly she collapses; she returns to be a gentle wife. The sleepwalking scene also shows lady Macbeth as a complementary character to her husband.

The scene opens with the gentlewoman talking to the doctor about lady Macbeth's sleepwalking. While they are talking, lady Macbeth appears walking while she is sleeping. She stops and rubs her hands together as if she is struggling to clean them. She starts to reenact the murder of Duncan. Lady Macbeth's sleep walking shows her mind which is overloaded with guilt. She is tortured by the memory of the crime and she tries to get rid of it, but in vain.

Hence, we could see the how the murders have preyed on Lady Macbeth. In her sleep walking Lady Macbeth plays the washing theme that runs out through out the play. After the murder of Duncan in the second act, she tells her husband "a little water clears us of this deed." Now it is evident that this is not true, when she herself tries to remove the spot on her hand while she sleep walks but couldn't.

We could remember lady Macbeth after Macbeth has committed the murder of Duncan. She denies the moral reality in favor of material one. She sees the spot of blood as a mere physical substance which could be ...


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... in him but in her. He hallucinates before the murder but she suffers from the mental disorders afterwards. He stands helpless with his bloody hands crying all Neptune's ocean won't clear the guilt from his hands while she comforts him saying that a few drops of water would clear them of their deed. Later. She is the one who washes her hand for quarter of an hour to get rid of the bloodstain. What Macbeth fears to happen to him happens to her. She becomes "all remorse, and he all defiance." In fact the fall of lady Macbeth and her death paves the way to the fall of Macbeth and his death.

Finally, we have to agree with the doctor who plays the role of the psychoanalyst in this play that lady Macbeth is suffering from an infected mind and nothing could help her but the mercy of the all merciful. She more "needs (she) the divine than the physician.

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