Macbeth act ii scene 2
The extract under study immediately follows the killing of King Duncan by Macbeth, the first of many murders to come. The scene takes place at night, at Inverness, in Macbeth’s castle, when everybody is asleep. It stages Macbeth, who has just returned from King Duncan’s bedchamber discussing with Lady Macbeth who has been waiting for her husband anxiously. This scene is very important as it is going to reveal the true impact of Duncan’s murder on Macbeth and his wife. It is the turning point of the play as now things have become irreversible and the increasing tensions resulting from Macbeth and Lady Macbeth horrible deed, will lead to the fatal downfall of the protagonists. After Duncan’s murder, this is a completely different Macbeth who comes to his wife as he declares “I have done the deed…”. At this moment, the audience understands that things have come to a point of no return. Whereas he was a confident, a valiant cold blooded warrior, able to “unseam “the enemy “from the nave to th’chops” (Act 1, scene 2,L. 25), he becomes dubious and remorseful. He is so shocked by his own deed that he has forgotten to leave the daggers on the crime scene as he was supposed to and refuses to bring them back, terrified by his crime, “look on’t again I dare not” (II,2,51).
Macbeth knows his life will never be the same now, that he has irreversibly destroyed the natural order of things and so does the audience. He has committed regicide, killed the representative of God on earth, the one who ruled by divine rights. Macbeth feels all the more guilty that he truly appreciated Duncan and makes it clears on several occasions as he talks about him “his silver skin laced with his golden blood” (II,3,124).
The atrocity of the crime is also amplified by the series of metaphors on the sleep used by Macbeth. Shakespeare also personifies the sleep “Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep”. Sleep is associated to the lexical field of purity,