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Macbeth: Innocent Hero or Brutal Killer?

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Introduction

Macbeth: Innocent Hero or Brutal Killer? In Macbeth written by William Shakespeare, the main character, Macbeth, receives prophecies that he will become the king of Scotland. To help make this come true, he is encouraged by his wife. He finally kills the present king, Duncan and Macbeth becomes the new king. Macbeth thinks and reflects to himself after the murder when he says, "Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more/ Macbeth does murder sleep'-the innocent sleep,/ Sleep that knits up the ravel'd sleave of care." (II.ii.43-45) Macbeth becomes haunted and tormented by the murder he has committed. After this line, Macbeth changes from a generally good, innocent war hero, to a haunted, evil, power-hungry killer. This line shows how his innocence is lost, and Macbeth becomes a changed man. Now that he has murdered Duncan, he will no longer be able to get peaceful sleep. He says, I thought I heard a voice say "Sleep no more! Macbeth has ruined sleep" -the peaceful sleep to mend the mind from a hard day is now gone. ...read more.

Middle

The bad sleep includes evil, haunted, murderous, dangerous, vulnerable, dark, scary, and restless sleep, or when one can't sleep at all. At the beginning of the play 'sleep' is generally used in a good way, but even at the beginning, the witches already plot to take away his healthy, peaceful sleep, "I will drain him dry as hay:/ Sleep shall neither night nor day/ Hang upon his pent-house lid;" (I.iii.18-20) The rejuvenating, necessary sleep is already leaving Macbeth, because of what he will do in later parts of the play. After the murder, Macbeth can tell he is changed and will no longer be able to sleep when he says, "...we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep/ In the affliction of these terrible dreams..." (III.ii.19-20) After Macbeth's line, it is clear that he lacks this sleep, and the bad sleep takes over the rest of his sleep, and within Macbeth himself. Although some may argue otherwise, it is clear that this was the turning point in Macbeth. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is not until after the "sleep" line that he realizes the true extremity of what he has done, and what the consequences will be for the rest of the play, forcing him into his state of evil. This line by Macbeth may seem straightforward, and not that important, but really it is the turning point in the whole book for Macbeth. Before this line and even after Duncan's murder, Macbeth was a good-natured person. Only after this line, did he change to the cold-blooded killer we see in the later parts of the play. He gets murderers to kill Banquo, and to try to kill his son, Fleance. He also sends people to kill Macduff's wife and family, because Macduff suspects Macbeth in these other murders, all without an outside influence like his wife. After the realization, that his innocent helping sleep is gone, Macbeth loses his innocence as well. He is greedy and tries to keep his kingdom ship at all costs. Although Lady Macbeth started him on the killing spree, it is he who turns into the real evil killer. When his healthy sleep is taken away from him, his mind becomes haunted, sick, and twisted for the rest of the play. ...read more.

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