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Malcolm refers to Macbeth as ‘The Butcher.’ To what extent do you agree with this description of him?

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Introduction

Jodie Booth 10P Malcolm refers to Macbeth as 'The Butcher.' To what extent do you agree with this description of him? In the play 'Macbeth' we are told that Macbeth is a 'butcher'. There is numerous references which agree with this throughout the play. There are, however, references proving that Macbeth is not all as butcher like as we are first led to believe. Many people may agree fully with this description, whereas others may have a different view on Macbeth's character. Here we will explore two different images of Macbeth to build a conclusion based on references from the play. From looking at 'Macbeth' we know that Macbeth kills without thinking. We can relate this to a butcher slaughtering his animals. Neither man thinks about the killing, as it is a way of their life. We have evidence that he kills without thinking; "The very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand" From this we are told that Macbeth also regrets not killing Macduff an is making a decision for his future after learning from the past. ...read more.

Middle

Macbeth's speech, shown above tells the audience that there are to be more killings, just like a butcher continues to kill his animals. Macbeth's first murder as a result of selfish reasons was that of Duncan. A phrase that strongly suggests that Macbeth is not proud of the killing is; 'for them the gracious Duncan have I murdered, put rancours in the vessel of my peace.' From the above phrase, we are told that Macbeth killed a gracious man and therefore deserves to have bitterness replacing his peace, maybe in his heart. Before the death of Duncan, Macbeth wanted Duncan dead but once he has been killed he soon regrets it. Early on in the play we are shown that Macbeth's intentions were to kill Duncan. A soliloquy shows this; 'Is this a dagger I see before me, the handle towards my hand?' Here we are told that Macbeth is having visions of a dagger in front of him, pointing towards Duncan's room. This shows us that his mind is full of killing. There is an image of torment and Macbeth can't resist the temptation. ...read more.

Conclusion

We are told that Macbeth's 'Fears in Banquo stick deep'. He therefore decided to murder him so he has nothing left to fear in. A butcher does the entire killing and slaughtering himself but this in not continually apparent with Macbeth. As we are shown later on in the play, Macbeth does not commit all of the murders, the killing of Banquo was performed by others. These others were two men who Macbeth quickly turned against Banquo. This gave them the incentive to kill. After looking at the evidence I feel that the description of Macbeth being 'a butcher' is agreeable. One reason for this decision is that there is more evidence. Macbeth is a butcher mainly because of the way he killed Duncan- by stabbing him with daggers. This is the way a butcher would kill his animals- with knives. However, Macbeth tries to hide the evidence that proves Macbeth killed Duncan by laying the daggers next to the guards. This would begin to persuade me to disagree with the statement, however I still feel that the evidence disagreeing with the statement is not strong enough to persuade me, and make me believe that Macbeth is not a butcher. ...read more.

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