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"A dead butcher and his fiend-like queen". Are these accurate statements to make about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?

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Introduction

"A dead butcher and his fiend-like queen". Are these accurate statements to make about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth? Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's four famous tragedies. It was written in 1605-1606, at the peak of Shakespeare's career; and was chosen to accolade the new King James I of England, who had been James VI of Scotland. He had a fascination with witchcraft and the supernatural, so the play 'Macbeth' complimented his passion. Shakespeare is famed for his use of the English language, ''turning nouns to verbs and verbs to nouns", and adding new words and expressions to the English language. His play, Macbeth is most famous for its brutal insights into characters and the impact of good and evil. At the time when it was written, there was a belief that where evil breaks into the heart of a king, this evil spreads throughout the entire state over which he rules. Shakespeare has used this belief and created a tragedy making an ambitious thane and his wife find evil via three sadistic witches, and the destructive impact it has. It is Malcom who named Macbeth and Lady Macbeth "a dead butcher and his fiend like queen", and our first impression of Macbeth is completely contrary to Malcom's suggestion. We hear of others talking of "brave Macbeth". Without actually meeting him, we have already formed in our minds an image of a "worthy gentleman". At this point the description of him as a "dead butcher" seems very far from the mark. King Duncan obviously shows great trust in Macbeth, as announces that "...noble Macbeth hath won" the title of 'Thane of Cawdor.' ...read more.

Middle

As the play progresses, Macbeth begins to lose all passion for anything other than his own power and position. He shows a dependency on the witches, rather than his wife, with whom he supposedly loves and trusts. This is showing his evil side and bad ruler-ship, as he bases his life on these three immoral women. They drive him to do evil deeds, and although he has based his entire kingship on these women, he still doubts their honesty and his paranoia does not subside. Although they assure, "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth", he still commits murders to assure himself of his position. As well as showing a reliance on the three witches, Macbeth also neglects Lady Macbeth. She begins so go mad, as she rises "from her bed", sleepwalking. However, Macbeth never shows any awareness of this. Similarly, upon being informed that his wife was dead, Macbeth exclaimed, "she should have died hereafter". This shows that he is unable to feel emotion as his merciless actions have lead him away from normal human feelings. This area of Macbeth is agreeing with the title "dead butcher". Macbeth, at this point, is not physically dead, but mentally he cannot display emotion towards anything except his own well being. When this army does come to attack Macbeth, and any one who stands by him, Macbeth claims he will "...fight, till from my bones my flesh be hacked". This is showing a glimpse of the old Macbeth, he is being determined and heroic; he is fighting for his country, and not for himself, as he is willing to die for what he believes in. ...read more.

Conclusion

He played "foully" for them, and he does not deserve to wear these robes. The play was designed to be performed on a stage, and Shakespeare displays the evil and good of the play in stagecraft, to promote this to an audience. He creates different atmospheres to set the different scenes. For example the witches always appear to "thunder". With a loud noise of thunder, and darkness on-stage, an eerie and evil atmosphere would be created, in order to compliment the characters. Shakespeare also uses stagecraft in speech. When Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have killed Duncan, their short, quick speech represents their panic and anxiety. Contrary to their usual long and detailed speaking patterns, they speak in short, one word sentences, such as, "Ay", and, "Hark!" On stage, this would sound as a quick-paced stream of words that would create a fast, panicked atmosphere. This is what Shakespeare wanted to enhance to show the importance and immorality of what the two characters have just done. In conclusion, I feel that Malcolm's statement"a dead butcher and his fiend-like queen" are both inaccurate and accurate for both characters at different times. For Macbeth, I feel that the statement is inaccurate at the beginning of the play, as he is more concerned for what is right and what is wrong. However the witches and Lady Macbeth eventually mould him into a "dead butcher", and he no longer has morals, just an ambition to achieve everything for him, regardless of the costs. For Lady Macbeth, I feel that the statement is accurate when we first meet her, as she plans and encourages the brutal murder of Duncan, but eventually she feels remorse, and rids herself of being a "fiend", as a devil-like creature would not display any type of conscience. ...read more.

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