Essay Example on Chaos and Disorder in Shakespeare's Macbeth









British Literature 16 January 2018 Chaos and Disorder in Shakespeare's Macbeth In the play Macbeth Shakespeare uses Macbeth s and Lady Macbeth s guilt and paranoia as a source of chaos and disorder The recurring motifs of sleeplessness and blood staining are used to reveal how the chaos increases as the play progresses The characters in Macbeth were always in a state of distress and disorder which didn t allow for any peace This disruption of peace in the play left room for increased chaos and disorder to appear as the characters attempted to deal with their emotions The chaos and disorder in Macbeth becomes stronger and more disastrous as the play progresses due to Macbeth s intense paranoia The motif of sleeplessness is used repeatedly for the reader to associate lack of sleep with chaos Prior to lack of sleep being associated with Macbeth himself the sleep motif is used as a foreshadowing method right before Duncan was murdered Banquo told Fleance of his inability to sleep because he was so paranoid due to the Three Witches prophecy He expressed that a heavy summons lies like lead upon me and yet I would not sleep 2 1 6 7 His lack of sleep so early on in the play reveals that chaos will soon follow which it did when Macbeth murdered King Duncan Throughout the play Macbeth became entangled in protecting his position on the throne he was willing to do anything to maintain his title as king including murder his potential threats 

The more people he killed the more guilty he felt Macbeth becomes so overwhelmed with guilt that he cannot decipher reality from his imagination His guilt became apparent in the murder scenes specifically in his murder of King Duncan Directly following the murder Macbeth was so overwhelmed by guilt that he became convinced that he will never sleep again Hallucinations appeared to him saying Sleep no more Macbeth does murder sleep 2 2 47 48 Macbeth also describes sleep as innocent which later signifies that Macbeth has lost all sources of innocence and peace when he murdered Duncan Lack of sleep is a clear sign that guilt has overcome someone which is apparent in reference to Lady Macbeth Lady Macbeth s guilt from being involved in the murder of Duncan brought her to the breaking point when she was caught sleepwalking wishing that she d be forgiven and washed clean of her sins Since she pleaded Out damned spot Out I say will these hands ne er be clean 5 1 25 31 while asleep her subconscious feels guilty and seeks forgiveness Because she had suppressed her feelings to the extreme they couldn t be kept hidden anymore The spot of blood was an allusion to the murder of Duncan She wants it to be erased but the stain just won t come out The progression of Macbeth s guilt in can be also easily traced through his encounters with blood Blood shows not only how physically violent Macbeth s murders were but also the amount of destruction the murders caused Macbeth begins with a gory battle scene which sets the play off on a violent note The violent description of Macbeth on the battlefield when he unseamed him from the nave to th chops 1 2 22 in a bloody execution 1 2 18 shows how intense and violent the culture that the characters were exposed to was 

The murder of King Duncan also contains the motif of blood staining which is also a source of chaos in the play Following the murder Macbeth enters the room where Lady Macbeth is waiting to hear how the murder went Lady Macbeth immediately notices that Macbeth is still holding the murder weapon a bloody dagger Lady Macbeth tells her husband to carry them and smear the sleepy grooms with blood 2 2 49 50 to get rid off any evidence that they committed the crime but Macbeth refuses saying that he is afraid to think what I have done 2 2 52 His guilt is overwhelming him and preventing him from making clear decisions that would keep them from being jailed Not only was blood used in the context of the murder scenes but it was also used in regular context in the play The casualness of blood in Macbeth reveals that the characters do not understand the seriousness and violence of it Lady Macbeth asks the evil spirits to make thick thy blood 1 5 50 in her soliloquy to wish herself more masculine so she could have the strength to go through with the murder of King Duncan The blood in this play does not allow for there to be any peace or tranquility as the characters are always in a state of chaos and disorder The motifs of sleep and blood staining builds up the chaos and disorder in Macbeth as the play unravels Macbeth and Lady Macbeth handle chaos and disorder in similar ways both being ultimately ineffective in the end Both characters suppress their emotions which doesn t relieve the disorder surrounding them in any way The continuous references of both blood and lack of sleep reveal the lack of peace in the play which leaves the characters vulnerable to the disastrous effects of chaos

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