SLEEP WALKING SCENE
Macbeth is one of the greatest tragedies of William Shakespeare. It is called the tragedy of ambition and fate. In this play there are some significant scenes. They have their dramatic significance. Among them ' Sleep Walking Scene' is one of the most memorable and remarkable scene.
This important scene occurs at the beginning of Act 5. Scene 1 of this act is the famous sleep walking scene. Here we find that Lady Macbeth is walking in sleep. She has become mad. In her madness she accepts her guilt. She is full of darkness. She needs light even in the day.
'Sleep Walking Scene' opens in an anteroom of the castle of Dunsinane. A doctor has been called in as a result of Lady Macbeth's sleep walking. When the doctor is talking to the waiting woman, Lady Macbeth enters. She is walking in sleep. She has a burning candle in her hand. Her eyes are open. She is rubbing her hands together as if she wants to wash something out of them:
" Out, damned spot! I say! - One; two; why,
Then 't is time to do 't".
Unaware of what she is saying, she talks about the bloody murder of king Duncan, Banquo and Macduff's wife. She says:
"Yet who would have thought the old man
To have had so much blood in him".
And at the next moment she looks at her hands and exclaims:
" Here's the smell of the blood still: all the
Perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand "
The doctor now begins to suspect the truth. He tells the waiting woman that such a disease is beyond his power. He adds that he does not need the help of a surgeon but she needs divine aid.
In the sleep-walking scene, Lady Macbeth recalls the past incidents. We know that in the play Lady Macbeth time and again requests supernatural powers to unsex her and take away the milk of human kindness from her. But she is very feminine. In Sleep Walking Scene this feminine nature comes before us. Under the pressure of her guilt she wilts and her sleep walking is a symbol of her very feminine nature. She looses the balance of her mind because she knows about the deeds that a woman can't tolerate.
Thus this scene represents the horrible experiences of Lady Macbeth. Her feminine nature revolts against her foulness. Her fear of death and hell also disturbs her. Thus we can say that sleep-walking scene is one of the most significant scenes of the play.