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

At the end of Macbeth, Malcolm refers to Macbeth as ‘this dead butcher’ and to Lady Macbeth as ‘fiend-like’. How far do you agree with this assessment?

Extracts from this document...


At the end of Macbeth, Malcolm refers to Macbeth as 'this dead butcher' and to Lady Macbeth as 'fiend-like'. How far do you agree with this assessment? The definition of a butcher is one who kills needlessly or wantonly, whether it be directly or indirectly. A fiend is one bearing superhuman wickedness. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth undergo vast personality changes during the course of the play; from a liked, trustworthy and loving couple to a pair wrought with pain, problems and possibly evil. They both pay the highest price possible fro their crimes - death. But what causes the changes? Macbeth modifies from a loyal soldier to the king at the beginning of the play, to an insane tyrant at the end. Two things cause his slide into the realms of insanity: * His belief in the witches prophesies * Lady Macbeth At the commencement of the tale Macbeth is told his future by the witches. At first he laughs them off, but after his promotion to Cawdor his belief in the prophesies grows. ...read more.


Religion was very strong in the in the era of king James - the play for whom this play was written. Lady Macbeth in the meanwhile is not as strong as she seems. 'Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done't.' Although wicked in the way she manipulates her husband, she feels she has to as she has not the courage to perform the deed herself. She then bottles up her emotions to console her husband, whom she knows is slipping from sanity. Macbeth's conscience is 'full of scorpions', his week mentality causes the recent events to get to him, and from the killing of Duncan onwards he begins to loose all sense of what is right, and becomes a completely different person - one who is wrapped in the prophesies, one who is butcherous. We see his butcher like qualities in the killing of Macduff's family, as well as the killing of banquo. 'Give to th'edge of the sword his wife, his babes and all unfortunate souls.' ...read more.


Butcher like? Perhaps not. However Malcolm's description of the couple is going to be slightly harsh anyway. It is bias, after all Macbeth killed his father and in the process gained the title king of Scotland, a prestige that had been promised Malcolm in act 4 scene 1. Malcolm is obviously bitter because of this, and throughout the play we do not hear one good word about Macbeth from Malcolm, even when he was a noble. To conclude, I feel Macbeth is not a butcher, but does show butcher like qualities in latter parts of the play, when he was insane. His insanity was due to his future being forced upon him by both his wife and the witches. Lady Macbeth however is a fiend. She forces her husband to commit murder against his will because of her own copious ambition and cowardice, and her ultimate lack of strength caused both to fall into a bewildered state, and left Macbeth with no purpose of direction. Lady Macbeth's naivety caused her wickedness; she thought 'a little water would clear her of the deed.' Although Malcolm's description is hard on Macbeth, is does not portray the true extent of Lady Macbeth's evil. ...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. "At the end of the play Malcolm refers to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as ...

    To call Macbeth a butcher is slightly unfair as I think a lot of the things he does, he does because he is too easily influenced by other people. He is weak and easily pressurized into doing things. Macbeth has an alternate side, a side which is poetic and profound:

  2. At the end of the play, Malcolm calls Macbeth a butcher and Lady Macbeth ...

    Macbeth has a strong belief in the saying of the witches this is evident when he reports to his wife, "I have learnt by the perfectest report they have in them more than mortal knowledge." This suggests that Macbeth is certain that the witches are right and he acts upon what they say, even if it's not fully the truth.

  1. How far does Macbeth deserve the title "Butcher"?

    Throughout the play of 'Macbeth' Shakespeare relates his play to what was going on at the time. By using this play as a source of evidence and my own knowledge I am able to conclude that they lived in a very harsh and brutal society where innocent people weren't put on trial but hanged by accusations.

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

    Shakespeare portrays the strong presence of evil in his play, on many different levels. He uses many different types of imagery to give an overall effect of evil. This includes imagery in characters and in the set of the play.

  1. Macbeth Assessment

    Shakespeare's presented the play in good light. He displayed Duncan the king as a good king whom people loved, James would have liked this as he thought it portrayed himself but really Shakespeare was showing James to be Macbeth. The play showed a warning if a man killed the king he would suffer a fate as bad.

  2. At the end of the play Malcolm calls lady Macbeth a fiend like queen. ...

    Her fiend like ways, as to compliment Macbeth on his decision she describes how she would "dashed the brains out" of a defenceless baby for her cause. The audience would be horrified as a mother of the Jacobean period should be motherly and et while Lady Macbeth is the antithesis.

  1. At the end of the play Malcolm refers to this dead butcher and his ...

    This certainly doesn't make you think of a butcher and proves that up until his murder of Duncan he isn't a butcher at all. When Lady Macbeth reads Macbeths Letter she instantly thinks that Macbeth is "too full of the milk of human kindness" and "he art not without ambition

  2. His fiend-Like Queen is Malcolm(TM)s View of Lady Macbeth at the End of the ...

    him: 'First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, /Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,' but there is still a present desire to be King. Lady Macbeth then comes into the scene and does not like what Macbeth is saying.

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