• 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 The Play, Malcolm Refers To Lady Macbeth As "Fiend-Like". How Far Do You Think This Is An Appropriate Description Of Her?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

At The End Of The Play, Malcolm Refers To Lady Macbeth As "Fiend-Like". How Far Do You Think This Is An Appropriate Description Of Her? When Malcolm refers to Lady Macbeth as "fiend-like", it evokes an assortment of reactions from the audience. A fiend would be devilish before, during and after committing murders. Before the murders, Lady Macbeth is strong, sure of herself and her husband's position, and certainly displays some fiend-like tendencies. While the murders are taking place, she is not so calm. She is more human - tense and nervous - certainly not devilish. After the murders, she is incapable of dealing with her guilt, ending with her death. An important factor to be considered throughout this study is varying meanings. The word "fiend", like many other words in the English language, has altered slightly in its meaning since Shakespeare's day. In today's dictionary1, the word fiend is described as "an evil spirit; an inhumanly wicked person." Similarly, but slightly different, in Shakespeare's day, a fiend was a devil or a devil's agent. A devil is, in Christian and Jewish theology, the supreme spirit of evil, who inhabits the earth to take souls to hell. ...read more.

Middle

She admits that she is nervous and has drunk alcohol to calm those nerves: "That which hath made them drunk, hath made me bold". She is nervous and jumpy, and confesses "I am afraid", which she certainly could not be if she was a fiend. She is beginning to show a more human side to her conscience. She also concedes that she is unable to kill Duncan herself, saying that if he had not "resembled My father...I had done't". If her fiend-like exterior ran deeper than the surface, his appearance would not have made a difference. In the presence of her husband, however, she is strong, encouraging and comforting. She shows no compassion when she says "a little water clears us of this deed", and orders him to "consider it not so deeply". During the murders she shows a more human interior, but when her husband needs her, for example when he needs to get rid of the daggers and set up the guards, she again becomes fiendish and shows an inclination towards evil. During the murder of Duncan, we catch a glimpse of Lady Macbeth's true character, seeing her more human side. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, she may appear fiend-like, even though her character is not of a fiend, but of ambition. In fact, we cannot really expect the phrase "fiend-like" to be a fair comment, considering Malcolm is looking to ascertain his kingdom in place of his father's murderers. In addition, the staging of the Macbeths as wicked could be flattery of James I because of his succession from Banquo, so it is more than possible that Lady Macbeth was meant to be fiend-like in order to compliment James. There is sufficient evidence at the beginning of the play to call Lady Macbeth "fiend-like", but it is presumptuous of her character as a whole: Lady Macbeth is strong for her husband when he needs her to be, especially after Duncan's murder, and her ambition is portrayed as fiend-like tendencies. A fiend would be devilish before, during and after committing murders. In reality, she is unable to cope with the guilt, resulting ultimately in her death. It seems most of Lady Macbeth's actions are founded on weakness, not evil, as it is unfeasible for fiends to have consciences. Therefore, we can conclude that when Malcolm calls Lady Macbeth a "fiend-like queen", it is a less than just comment on her character. 1 Geddes and Grosset English Dictionary was used here. ...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 this dead butcher and his ...

    All in all even here he isn't like a butcher because butchers don't even think about what there doing and just kill because it's what they do, but Macbeth has a conscience and is troubled by it. After Macbeth decides to proceed no further he goes and tells Lady Macbeth this but she is outraged.

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

    be good to them when really her thoughts are of the opposite .Duncan is very trustworthy of Lady Macbeth as he takes her hand "take my hand" to be led to the castle which is a great honour for Lady Macbeth.

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

    Make thick my blood". Shakespeare's audience would have taken the witches and the evil sprits seriously, when Lady Macbeth calls upon the spirits to fill her with the cruelty this would have been an invitation to the sprits to possess her to do wicked and evil actions.

  2. There are two arguments as to whether Lady Macbeth is a fiend or a ...

    The fact that she wants him to fulfil his potential is revealed throughout the play, for example, when she asks him if he is 'afeard to be' what in fact he would like to be. Tragic figures usually have a flaw in their character.

  1. “This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen” how far has Shakespeare encouraged his audience ...

    This is not like a butcher. A butcher does not have a conscience and does not weigh up the positive and negative points in his mind, to decide whether they should cut up the meat of not. They just do it without giving it a second thought, as it is their job, it is what they are paid to do.

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

    In this scene Lady Macbeth does come across as having an evil nature. She is manipulative and is able to think about killing someone without much second thought, as well as able to link herself to the supernatural and destroy her feminine body in search of a greater power.

  1. To what extent do you agree with Malcolm's description of Lady Macbeth as a ...

    Nothing can get in the way of what she is planning on doing. Again, the audience would be disgusted that she was so desperate for power that she would call upon unimaginable evil and also that she would risk her own soul by bringing this evil into her body.

  2. Malcolm refers to Lady Macbeth as a

    In her first soliloquy she receives a letter from Macbeth, which informs her of his encounter with the witches. Towards the end of Act One scene five, Macbeth arrives home, but in front of him he sent a messenger telling Lady Macbeth of the King's coming that night.

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