In Macbeth, how do Macbeth and Lady Macbeth show that the crown has not brought peace of mind?

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kristenfusaro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth demonstrate that the crown has not brought peace of mind through symbolism, pathetic fallacy, and characterization.

Immediately following the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth explains to Lady Macbeth that he heard voices, and one of the voices:


Still it cried, “Sleep no more!” to all the house; “Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”(55)
Through the use of symbolism, Macbeth's intended meaning by "murdering sleep" is actually the murdering of calmness, peace, and the life cycle. King Duncan was able to sleep peacefully in his chamber while at Inverness because he possessed a good heart and a clear conscience, but Macbeth's evil deed has caused him to "murder sleep," thus implying that he will no longer feel the comforts of a clear conscience and a peaceful nights rest.
Lady Macbeth also demonstrates that there will be no peace for her rest, as when Macbeth asks her if she heard anything during the murder she states:LADY MACBETH:
I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did not you speak?(20)
Shakespeare's use of pathetic fallacy indicates to the reader that the universe has spoken out against the murder of King Duncan. Lady Macbeth is hearing strange noises because the unchecked ambition shown by the Macbeth couple has upset the appropriate monarch cycle by destroying the selection of king by divine right.
Through characterization, it becomes clear that this crown has brought nothing but distress. By Act IV and Act V, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have both shown that they are dynamic characters. What once made Macbeth an understandable character, his humanity, is completely destroyed by his obsession to maintain kingship as can be seen through the slaughtering of Macduff's entire family. Lady Macbeth becomes obsessed and begins sleepwalking, crying out:LADY MACBETH:
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!
implying that the spot of blood is a symbol of her unclear conscience. While she was, at first, eager for Macbeth to become king, and even encouraged him past his original senses, she is now suffering with guilty sleepless nights.
teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the crown has definitely not brought peace of mind.  Immediately following the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth is quite paranoid over the crime and continues to wonder if someone heard the act or if someone knows that it is he who is guilty.  He repeatedly asks Lady Macbeth if she heard anything when the murder took place.  These feelings of fear do not the leave the couple and they continue to worry that the other noblemen suspect them of foul play.  Later, Lady Macbeth comments that it would be better to be "safely thus" because the fear is driving them mad.  As the play continues, this sense of fear and guilt drives Macbeth's hallucinations and his need to cover up his murders.

vikas1802 | Student

i personally think that  you know how lady macbeth unfold all the myseries by herself ,we know this scene as SLLEP WALKING SCENE and in account of macbeth we know he spent all his kingship time to killing others,for this he lokks very uncomfortable about his kingship in scotland.thus we can say this that crown had not brought the peace of mind for both of them.