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How far does Macbeth deserve the title "Butcher"?

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Ann-Marie Ahola How far does Macbeth deserve the title "Butcher"? When deciding whether or not Macbeth is deserving of the title "butcher" it is a hard decision. There were many contributions by other characters which influenced Macbeth's actions: such as Duncan crowning Malcolm as his successor and giving the title Thane of Cawdor to Macbeth making in which the last one was a traitor: Banquo who kept his suspicions to himself; and Macbeth and Donalbain who fled. Lady Macbeth was the one who encouraged Macbeth to kill Duncan, giving him the confidence and courage to do the deed. The witch's' gave Macbeth the idea in the first place that he was to become king with their prophesies. The order in which I will analyse the characters which contributed to Macbeth's actions, are the least influential characters to the most influential characters. I must also take into consideration the time period in which Macbeth lived in to make my decision whether Macbeth deserves the title "butcher". During the time period in which Shakespeare set Macbeth, society in the 11th Century was very different from what it is today. The society in which Macbeth had lived in was very brutal, revolving around violence, as shown by Shakespeare in his play as executions would be a form torture. Little boys in that time period wanted to be seen as great warriors such as Macbeth, but in order to be one you would have to kill many men in battle. In the time period Macbeth lived in the more men you killed the more honored you became and Shakespeare shows the audience this by making Macbeth being seen as a great warrior during his time due to all the men he'd "slain" in the battlefield. When Shakespeare wrote the play he had to please James I, who was king at the time as he was his royal play right. ...read more.


It served to put the King's guards to sleep as they no longer had a watchful eye in order to protect Duncan from the dreadful deed that would have to take place in front of them without them knowing. Not only that but also when the lords find Duncan no longer lives and they announce the dreadful news, Lady Macbeth plays the role of a good actress as she pretends she doesn't know a thing: "Woe, alas! What, in our house?" When the lords question Macbeth about the murder of king Duncan, Lady Macbeth suddenly faints. Whether this faint was on purpose or not, it diverts all the attention that was on Macbeth onto Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's plan worked well, as there is no suspicion that has fallen upon them, for the death of King Duncan has fallen upon others, such as the guards. The three "hags" are a representation of trouble and evil, being "withered" and "wild" in their attire. They influenced Macbeth in the process of becoming a butcher with their prophecies. Before Macbeth even knows anything about the witch's, they plan "to meet with Macbeth" to try tempt him with their riddles and use him as a tool towards the destruction of the natural world order. They knew Macbeth's weakness, unlike Banquo who is good and could resist the witch's prophecies. They are malicious and crude in their nature and seek to cause chaos, mischief and misery in the world because they see evil as good, and good as evil "Fair is foul, and foul is fair". Whenever the witch's are present they bring along their omens of evil such as thunder, lightning and rain. Just before the witch's are about to meet Macbeth a witch chants " A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come". This is very portentous and a warning that bad things are to come. The witch's tell Macbeth about his future with their prophecies. ...read more.


Macbeth is now misleading his wife as she knows nothing. In order for Macbeth to get the murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance he lies to them by telling them it was Banquo "which held you so under fortune". Macbeth is glad about Banquo's violent death. Macbeth is starting to talk like the witch's as he uses inverted meanings such as "Banquo's safe?" after being killed. By now Macbeth is able to hide anything and is a good liar as he pretends to miss Banquo and blames him for not attending, when Macbeth is the reason he isn't there. Macbeth thinks that he's done so many bad things that it's to late to stop and isn't giving up as "We are yet but young in deed." Macbeth by this point has involved himself with evil "I conjure you" and is now evil himself and is doomed with the title "butcher". Macbeth has resorted to killing innocent women and children "Each new mourn, new widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows strike heaven on the face". Macbeth now resides to act without delay and will kill without hesitating: "From this moment firstlings of my heart shall be firstlings of my hand." When Macbeth decides to attempt and kill Macduff, he targets his family who haven't done anything wrong and are undeserving of their fate. Macbeth's evil and cruelty shows through the suffering throughout the country of Scotland. Lady Macbeth feels guilty as she feels she started Macbeth on his evil path to destruction but didn't know about any of her husband's actions after the murder of Duncan. Macbeth has now become a "tyrant" and his "murders sticking on his hands". Macbeth is determined to fight to the end till his "bones" and "flesh be hacked". As he now knows that he is a butcher and no longer has a conscious, as when he finds out he was lied to by the witch's, he'd rather "die with the harness on our back". Macbeth wants to inflict as much pain on others before he dies, in which he fails to do so. When deciding ...read more.

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