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

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Introduction

"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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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