• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen. To what extent do you agree with Malcolms final assessment of the two protagonists?

Extracts from this document...


"This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen." To what extent do you agree with Malcolm's final assessment of the two protagonists? Lady Macbeth can be perceived as a conniving woman throughout the play and is seen as a 'fiend-like queen' by Malcolm. She plays a major role in the plot of 'Macbeth' and being deceitful, devious and manipulative are a few of the character traits that Lady Macbeth possesses. There are many different views of why she behaved in such a manner. It was her determination of fulfilling her ambition that led to Macbeth killing Duncan as she plays on his insecurities. In addition, she uses the gender codes entrenched in society to her advantage so Macbeth would act as she pleases showing the strength of her character. Conversely, it could be argued that it was her duty, as his wife, to support and keep Macbeth happy, therefore fulfilling his wish of becoming King. However towards the end we see her humanity is unable to cope with the legacies of her crimes, as she has become a shattered subject through her madness. When Lady Macbeth is first introduced in the play, we see her reading a letter from her husband about the prestigious title bequeathed upon him. ...read more.


In addition to this, the harsh attack of consonants in this sentence shows her propensity for violence. This highlights her unnatural side both as a woman and as a mother. Lady Macbeth admits that Macbeth is too feeble to kill Duncan but she persuades her husband to kill the King. She can be seen as cunning and controlling when she orders Macbeth to, "look like th' innocent flower// But be the serpent under't." It is wretched of her as she is asking Macbeth to betray his own goodness and become like her. Macbeth is seen as a weaker character than Lady Macbeth as he is taking orders from his wife. As the 'serpent' denotes duplicity, it shows that Lady Macbeth wants her husband to put on a fa´┐Żade. Thus, it could be argued that Lady Macbeth is a fiend-like wife and queen since she uses mockery and questions Macbeth's masculinity in order to challenge him to prove himself. Lady Macbeth uses evil and degrading methods in order to manipulate Macbeth so that he would agree to murder Duncan and this is reiterated when she says: "When you durst do it, then you were a man." This shows that she is the dominating person, emasculating her husband by emotionally criticizing him. ...read more.


This shows the great extent of the crime, helping us to understand Lady Macbeth's guilt and grief. The evil deeds that Lady Macbeth has been capable of may have instigated the view that critics have called Lady Macbeth the fourth witch. No matter how evil she has been, we see her humanity through the guilt she feels and the suicide that follows. The evil that the witches represent is beyond human comprehension and they are wholly evil. Lady Macbeth is only partially responsible for the downfall of Macbeth. Although, Lady Macbeth is evil she is not wholly evil as she does have a conscience that prevails in the end. Hence we can partly agree with Malcolm's description of her as a 'fiend-like queen'. She is strong at first but is unable to live with the crimes she committed. At the end of the play, we see her power deteriorate as she becomes consumed by madness. This allows her to finally face her repressed guilt. Of course, she wanted the best for Macbeth, for her husband to become 'King', although after a certain point it becomes so important that she is willing to do the worst to achieve it. Although she is linked to sin, evil and power her humanity is shown through her madness. I believe that she really isn't a 'fiend-like queen' as she is portrayed since her guilty conscience causes her distress which results in her committing suicide. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "this dead butcher, and his fiend-like queen". Are these words by Malcolm an appropriate ...

    4 star(s)

    Another instance of Macbeth being portrayed as a "butcher" is when Young Siward, Siward's sons, meets Macbeth in order to kill him, Act 5 Scene 7. He asks Macbeth what his name is because Young Siward does not know Macbeth to see.

  2. To what extent is Macbeth wholly responsible for his ruin, which destroys not only ...

    They effectively plant the seed of evil within him and give him the power he needed to cause destruction. The witches are the first supernatural experience Macbeth encounters but, aren't the only ones. The dagger appears to confirm the fate planted in Macbeth by the witches.

  1. Macbeth' "...this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen". How far do you agree with ...

    I am in blood/ Stepped in so far that I should wade no more/ Returning were as tedious as go o'er." The people of Scotland envisioned him as a manipulative "tyrant", as he kept "a servant feed in every house" and had transformed the country into a place of famine,

  2. "At the end of the play Malcolm refers to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as ...

    This might be a powerful incentive for anyone with as little sense of morality as Macbeth seems to have. This might also suggest that "the witches" are products of Macbeth's own tortured mind. Later on in the play when the witches give Macbeth three prophecies, Macbeth believes in them so

  1. Lady MacBeth - Character Assessment

    She realises that Duncan is actually coming to her. Her first few lines are probably spoken in total amazement. 'He brings great news'; she would probably exclaim this quite joyfully. This works on two levels though. It is a great honour to have the king himself staying the night.

  2. To what extent is Lady Macbeth a 'fiend-like queen?

    This shows an un-fiendish quality to her because she had obviously had to drink some alcohol in order to calm her nerves. Another quality, which is not found in fiends, is shown when she says 'had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't' which is something

  1. English Macbeth coursework-Is the supernatural wholly responsible for the tragedy that occurs or is ...

    Furthermore, Macbeth and Banquo meet the witches. They predict that Macbeth will be the 'Thane of Cawdor' and later King. The prophetic hag's first prophecy comes true and Macbeth does become 'Thane of Cawdor'. Macbeth writes to Lady Macbeth telling her what the witches said.

  2. Was this your judgement of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth? "The dead butcher and his ...

    This explains how Macbeth was so amazed about the witches prophecy coming true. The letter was written based on a true open relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. 'Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood'.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work