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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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