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

Critical Evaluation Macbeth

Extracts from this document...


Critical Essay MACBETH At the end of the play "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare the two main characters are described as "...a dead butcher and his fiend-like queen." Do you agree that this is a suitable epitaph? "Macbeth" is a play written by William Shakespeare. The play tells the story of a man consumed by his ambition to become King - the play follows the character as he struggles to reach the throne through heinous means. Throughout the play the viewer is shown the eponymous hero, Macbeth's, character deteriorate. During the plays final scene, subsequent to Macbeth and his wife's demise, the two characters are referred to as a "dead butcher and his fiend-like queen". I personally, do not agree that this description is entirely befitting - although the characters do have "butcher"-like and "fiend"-like qualities both characters were shown to be more than this at various points throughout the play. Shakespeare's vivid characterisation means that the two characters are not one-dimensional, and are too complex to be labelled with this simplistic description. The opening scene of "Macbeth" leads the viewer to agree with this epitaph. The scene has two functions, it is where the viewer is introduced to pivotal characters - Macbeth and the witches, and also introduces an important theme which can be seen throughout the play - duplicity. The backdrop of this first scene is the dramatic weather conditions of thunder and lightning, immediately suggesting danger and evil to the viewer. ...read more.


Macbeth's doubts about killing the King grow worse and he begins to hallucinate, showing he is not a cold-hearted killer... "Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?" (Act II: Scene I) Macbeth sees a dagger, floating in the air and covered in blood, the dagger is pointing towards the King's chamber. The bloody dagger, I think, is symbolic of the bloody course Macbeth is about to embark on. This illusion seen by Macbeth reveals his inner turmoil. It is obvious that he is not comfortable with the deed he is about to commit and his doubts are driving him insane. After the King's murder Macbeth feels great remorse, revealing he is not a "butcher"... "Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more" (Act II: Scene II) Here, Shakespeare shows Macbeth is beginning to break down mentally as the character refers to himself in third person. His colossal guilt also comes to light; Macbeth attempts to disassociate himself from the situation by calling himself "Glamis", and "Thane of Cawdor". This shows he cannot deal with the fact that it was he himself who had killed his king. The reference to sleep suggests he will no longer have peace of mind - another indication of his guilt. A dramatic contrast can be seen between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth here. She appears very "fiend-like" stating ... "A little water will clear us of this deed;" (Act II: Scene II) ...read more.


During the climax of the play Macbeth's character is shown to improve... "And that which should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have;" (Act V: Scene III) We can see in this quote how deeply unhappy Macbeth really is, he has become conscious that having power, in itself, does not bring happiness. Here, I begin to feel sympathy for Macbeth as he is alone and is feared by everyone. Obviously, by this point the character honestly repents for his actions in the past, which makes him appear very unlike a "butcher". In the ultimate act of the play Macbeth's previous character begins to shine through as he prepares to fight his final battle... "At least we'll die with harness on our back." (Act V: Scene V) Macbeth decides he will face his enemies head on. Throughout the play we have seen the character's bravery gradually disintegrate but here it reappears. We can see here that he is not really a "butcher" but a brave warrior. Macbeth fights boldly but will not harm Macduff, after he killed his family. This shows that the character does have enough decency to realise his previous actions were immoral. In conclusion, I think that neither Macbeth nor Lady Macbeth deserve the epitaph of "...a dead butcher and his fiend-like queen..." Both characters are too complex to be labelled with these terms. Each character has behaved in an immoral and evil manner at certain points of the play but equally both characters have shown themselves to be wracked with guilt due to their actions. By Caitlin McLean. ...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. There are two arguments as to whether Lady Macbeth is a fiend or a ...

    When Lady Macbeth begins to sleepwalk, this is a true insight into her mind. We are finally seeing her true colours, and the gradual disintegration of her mind, mentality and soul is brought to a head. Her command is that she has light by her all the time, realistically, is this the demand of a fiend?

  2. Macbeth: Critical Essay. Whether we should or shouldnt sympathize for Macbeth will be ...

    If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings; My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state

  1. "This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen"Is this a fair assessment of Macbeth and ...

    Shakespeare started the play with the witches and the thunder and lightning. He started it this way to show that this play is going to be about evil and corruption it has a very profound effect on an audience watching the play.

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

    us for your pains', and this is hypocritical because of the prayers that she made to the 'spirits/That tend on mortal thoughts' about taking away her womanly aspects. Scene 7 opens with Macbeth contemplating the plan to murder Duncan. He comes up with three strong reasons why he shouldn't kill

  1. Malcolm calls Macbeth and Lady Macbeth "this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen" Act ...

    gives her speech a special urgency and determination. When Macbeth appears there is little trace of endearment from his wife. She sees him and forces him to see himself in terms of her plan for power. She addresses him as he had been addressed by the witches and her language

  2. Why does a man praised as "Brave Macbeth" in Act 1 end with an ...

    "he's here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek."

  1. Discussion of Macbeth - An Introduction

    During the feast Macbeth twice sees the ghost of Banquo focusing on him, which causes him to almost blurt out his guilt. Here, the audience's view of Macbeth is low and we wish that Macbeth 'spills the beans', so his crime against the King and therefore God is discovered.

  2. At the start of the play, King Duncan refers to Macbeth as 'worthy gentleman'. ...

    told by the witches, and when Macbeth receives the honour of being Thane of Cawdor, Banquo says, "What! Can the devil speak truth?" It seems that the witches do not fool Banquo and because witches are described as agents of the devil, their sole purpose is to create havoc and destroy Scotland.

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