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This Dead Butcher And His Fiend-Like Queen. How does Shakespeare change the characters of Macbeth and his wife throughout the play?

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Introduction

This Dead Butcher And His Fiend-Like Queen. How does Shakespeare change the characters of Macbeth and his wife throughout the play? In the very last scene as Malcolm is crowned the King of Scotland he says, "producing forth, with a cruel ministers of this dead butcher, and his fiend-like Queen". This sweeping statement, whilst revealing Malcolm feelings does not reveal the extent to which a person can change from good to evil. This tragic play shows in great detail the degradation of two virtuous people and the evil that may be in man. Macbeth is a Scottish nobleman and important kinsman of King Duncan. Macbeth's heroic leadership of a winning tactic in battle shows his talent, courage and loyalty to his country. At the start of the play he is well respected, and after his feat of bravery and gallantry, Duncan believes him worthy enough to receive the title Thane of Cawdor, but he is then cajoled and inveigled into cruelty and murder. Shakespeare adopts many styles and techniques to show how Macbeth's character develops and changes as the story unfolds and we see Macbeth turn from good to evil. From a "noble Macbeth", "brave Macbeth-well he deserves that name" and "worthy gentlemen" into a negative soul searching "butcher". In the opening scenes Macbeth's name is aligned praise "brave Macbeth" fighting a war for God, king and country. Further acts of bravery with Banquo are also spelled out in the phrases "as sparrows eagles" and "the hare the lion". ...read more.

Middle

"This is a sorry site". "And will all great Neptune's oceans wash this blood clean from my hand?" She responds by saying "Consider it not so deeply" She shows her calculated fiendish mind, which once was of a kind and loving nature, by then taking the daggers back and smearing the guards with blood. By now Macbeth is beside himself, he says he will "sleep no more". Lady Macbeth is shown as the architect of her desires and ambitions, while Macbeth, who early in the play was shown as brave and forthright, is now shown to be weak and snivelling and full of regret and guilt. He hears voices telling him that he has "murdered sleep". This irony makes him believe that in killing, he has killed his own ability to be at peace. His own evil is so great that "I could not say amen", but by this time he cannot turn back. "I know my deed, but best know myself," by killing the King he has assured himself of the crown. His realization that in doing so he has given up his soul makes him especially sensitive to maintain security of the crown. His thoughts now wander back to he witches' predictions that Banquo's children rather than Macbeth's would inherit the crown and he believes that Banquo may slay him to gain control of the crown. He believes that Banquo "Hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour" and even if Banquo doesn't succeed Macbeth still believes that Banquo's children and not his will inherit the kingship. ...read more.

Conclusion

" At least we will die with harness on our back". This gives the impression that he at least wants to die in honour as a soldier, But whilst accepting his fate he regains some of his earlier valour and remembers the witches words "Fear not Macbeth, no man that's born of woman shall ere have power over thee". This temporary confidence boost is dealt a blow when in the final fight scene when he learns that Macduff was " from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd". He now feels vulnerable. During this fight scene he is shown to have some remorse not wanting to take Macduff's life, but now he feels unprotected and Shakespeare shows that his confidence has deserted him, but that he still has some pride not wanting to give in to Macduff and be pilloried and "Baited with the rabbles curse". He fights on and dies in disgrace, "a butcher with his fiend-like queen." At he start we are all lulled into liking Macbeth, but this tragedy moves on very quickly to the evil in man, progressively worsening his fate and circumstances until death seems the only way out. Macbeth is seen to be a "butcher" and his wife a "fiend." Both are driven by avarice and ambition and greed and an arrogance of their situation protecting them from all. However, good is shown to eventually prevail and evil is finally slain. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth become brutal murderers, conniving, scheming and yet vulnerable. They have succumbed to ambition and evil and whilst their inner characters are shown to be good, they are still a "butcher and a fiend." 2 Alexander Ford 11L ...read more.

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