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Is this an accurate assessment of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?

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This dead butcher and fiend-like Queen. Is this an accurate assessment of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth? In retrospect Macbeth does not embody the traits of a butcher at the start of the play but the chain of events he and his wife set in motion, changes him into a remorseless killer. A butcher by trade kills for necessity, shows no remorse or conscience and is pitiless. However, Macbeth is persuaded by his selfish, ambitious wife to perform these terrible deeds against his moral standards. Once Macbeth crosses the moral boundary of taking someone's life, he loses all sense of right and wrong. A domino effect is created whereby the loss of one life automatically leads on to mass murder in that he tries to eliminate all contenders to the throne i.e. the slaughter of the innocents (Macduff's wife and children). During the course of the play, Macbeth and his wife have a role reversal-she develops a conscience after her initial lust for blood and descends into madness whereupon she kills herself. ...read more.


At face value, she is 'egging on' her husband for what looks to be his own gains, but it is her ambition to be the most powerful woman in Scotland. She is furthering her own ambitious plans perhaps wanting to rule the country through Macbeth. It is ironic when she says, "Look like the innocent flower But be the serpent under't", as she herself is the 'serpent', the brains behind the plan. He slavishly does her bidding despite having some misgivings, " We will proceed no further in this business:". She undermines his manhood using it as a weapon against him, "When you durst do it, then you were a man; And, to be more than what you were, you would Be so much more the man." She adopts the masculine characteristics of courage, strength and determination and encourages him to proceed with the actions. She bolsters his frail ego. Although he has slain many people in battle, he is known to be a loyal servant and is afraid of being branded a traitor. ...read more.


and suicidal thoughts dominate her existence. It is here that she loses the tag of 'fiend-like queen' and becomes more human in her inability to cope with what she has seen. Although she put in motion the sequence of events, she is now unable to cope with the consequences. The once proud, domineering woman has become a shadow;her spectral appearances in a nightgown carrying a candle show her changed into a waif like creature inhabiting the darker recesses of a turbulent mind. It's difficult not to feel some sympathy for her "slumbery agitation". This is no fiend but a troubled soul whose only hope of peace is death. While neither character is portrayed in an attractive light, Shakespeare graphically shows a descent into insanity and the ultimate tragic end in the quest for power. Against one's better nature, a degree of empathy for Macbeth and his wife emerges so that the label 'butcher' and 'fiend-like queen' does not seem appropriate at the conclusion of the play. Huw John ...read more.

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