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

Is the term ‘a dead butcher’ an adequate description of Macbeth’s character?

Extracts from this document...


Elizabeth Appleton Is the term 'a dead butcher' an adequate description of Macbeth's character? 'A butcher' conveys an image of someone who retails meat for a living and so slaughters or dresses meat. This kind of butcher has no feelings and no consequence to his actions. Another kind of 'butcher' is the kind that kills indiscriminately or brutally. This kind of butcher would perform his actions cold bloodedly. An example of this butchery is when Hitler massacred millions during the 1940's. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is courageous and 'brave', his fighting skills and generalship have allowed him to win the battle against the most 'disloyal Thane of Cawdor.' In the beginning of the play Macbeth is a 'most worthiest cousin.' He is respected by his army for his bravery and savage fighting skills, killing Macdonwald 'like valour's minion.' Even from the start his savage and terrifying fighting skills are portrayed, suggesting that he is a warrior but at the start he only fights because it is his job, like the butcher's job is to dress meat. Macbeth has a vivid imagination and is greatly superstitious so when the witches prophesise that Macbeth will be 'Thane of Glamis', 'Thane of Cawdor' and most importantly 'king hereafter.' ...read more.


and the influences and prophesies of the 'weird sisters' he commits the 'dreadful deed' The killing of Duncan shows that his conscience was not strong enough. He does, however, at this point show some remorse. He was troubled by the contemplation of tyranny and by the actual murder. He even shows a hint of insanity as he becomes obsessed that 'blood will have blood' and so forth becomes deluded that more murders will secure his position on the throne. The deterioration of Macbeth's character begins as he starts his series of murders. As well as killing Duncan he kills the guards in the first of the many vain attempts to distance himself from the consequences of his actions in murdering the king. He is a moral coward, he fears Banquo, due to Banquo's stronger spirit, 'royalty of nature' something Macbeth lacks, as well as being ignorant of the fact that Banquo has kept his 'bosom franchise and allegiance clear' Because of this Macbeth orders the murder of Banquo and his son, Fleance. While the murder is being carried out Macbeth is ruthless enough to urge his wife to honour Banquo as the chief guest. Macbeth cannot wait until after the banquet to hear the report as to whether the murderers have succeeded in their task, he takes a great risk, as there are many guests at the banquet. ...read more.


After Lady Macbeth's death he sees no meaning to his life, he uses constant repetition of 'tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow ' to show how empty he sees his life. In trying to attain his kingship it has left him with nothing, his 'dearest love' has died and he has lost the will to live. We cannot condemn Macbeth as he shows remorse; in that he is reluctant to fight Macduff because of what he has already done to his family and that he is 'not of woman borne.' Macbeth believes that the witches have tricked him and so Macduff says that unless he fights he will be shown as 'rare monsters' were. Macbeth desires some self-respect and believes that 'his soul is already charged with blood of thine' therefore Macbeth nobly engages in battle with Macduff. His moral degradation is so low that even his enemies take pity on him. It is also ironic that it is Macbeth, in this tragic play, who becomes the one who is butchered and Macduff shows his 'cursed head' to Scotland. I believe that Macbeth was not innocent, he performed brutal butchery at times but he shows some repentance as he nobly fights Macduff knowing he will be killed. Like the first Thane of Cawdor 'nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.' ...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. Lady Macbeth’s Diary.

    Macbeth was getting rid of the last piece of evidence to clear him of this crime. To withdraw attention from my foolish husband I fainted and prayed he didn't say or do any thing which may link us to the murder.

  2. Lady Macbeth’s descent into madness and finally suicide are richly deserved, discuss

    The role of women was to aid and support their husband, therefore it could be seen that she was doing her duty. She saw her husband's ambition but knows he does not contain the evil to act upon it. Instead of watching her husband's despair she decides to act and help Macbeth.

  1. How far do the Witches and Lady Macbeth Influence Macbeth’s Decision to Kill Duncan?

    "If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me" (line 143) At this early point in the play we can see that Macbeth is seriously contemplating becoming king, but he doesn't yet appear to be willing to summon the evil characteristics he would require to get to that position.

  2. Choose any two of Macbeth’s soliloquies and explore them in detail showing-what they reveal ...

    In the last speech there was a sense of morality which soon disappeared but in this speech Macbeth seems to hold on to the moral issues for much longer, which runs in reverse of the play because at the beginning, Macbeth has a strong conscience which deteriorates as the play goes on.

  1. Macbeth: Tragic Hero or Dead Butcher?

    the play because it takes place straight after Macbeth and Banquo have done battle. This means that Macbeth already has the stench of blood in his nostrils and the idea of his ambition excites him more because of this. He then sends a letter to Lady Macbeth about his meeting

  2. The extent to which the supernatural contributes to Macbeth’s tragedy

    The play is about a man, named Macbeth, who encounters three witches. These witches inform him that he is to become Thane of Cawdor and then King. He doesn't know whether to believe the women or not. They tell Macbeth's co-leader of the Scottish army, Banquo, that he will not become King but he will become the ancestor of Kings.

  1. Macbeth is a study of how a central character degrades from, "Bellona's Bridegroom" to ...

    This could represent Macbeth feeling guilty for all that he has done and his conscience is reminding him just how wicked he has been. The first time Macbeths name is mentioned, it comes from the mouth of a witch, "There to meet with Macbeth" in Act 1 Scene 1.

  2. This dead butcher- to what extent do you regard this description of Macbeth to ...

    He takes a very gruesome approach to killing, ?unseamed him from the nave th ?chaps And fixed his head upon our battlements? This description illustrates a seemingly unnecessary and blood thirsty way of killing him, which could arguably show Macbeth possessing traits that show him as deserving of the title of ?dead butcher?.

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