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'This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen.' How far is this a fair comment on the characters of the Macbeths?

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Introduction

'This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen.' How far is this a fair comment on the characters of the Macbeths? This comment by Malcolm is seen by many to sum up the personalities of the two main characters in the play of Macbeth. It is the final speech in the play and it allows us as the audience to leave it with a definition in our heads of those characters being evil and heartless, but is this the truth or is there more to the Macbeths than meets the eye? First, we have to consider the context in which the comment is made. Macbeth has just been killed and Malcolm must now establish himself as the new king in place of the man who killed his father. He needs to sound strong and reassure his people that his rule will not be like that of Macbeth. Malcolm also needs to make sure that Macbeth has no remaining supporters and he does this by publicly condemning Macbeth and his wife. As Malcolm makes the comment at this difficult time, we do not know if this was the view of all the other characters in the play or his exclusive opinion. ...read more.

Middle

Killing King Duncan was done for a purpose and I am sure that although many people would think it was wrong, they would also be able to see that he was seduced by the idea of power set forward by the witches. When the play was written I think the murder of King Duncan would have seemed worse than it does to modern audiences because they believed that there was a natural order and that the king was chosen by God. This idea of upsetting natural order is shown when it is said that the country 'weeps and bleeds' (act 4 scene 3 line 40) and that Macbeth's robes 'hang loose about him' (act 5 scene 2 line 20) - the robes don't fit because he shouldn't be in them as he has displaced the natural order of the throne. I think that many would say that Macbeth ordering the murders of Banquo and his son and Macduff's family were worse than the first murder because there was not really anything to be gained from them. I agree that they were quite pointless acts but I think that Macbeth had already sunk so low with his feelings of guilt over the first murder that he did not think he could ...read more.

Conclusion

Historically, the real Lady Macbeth had supposedly had many miscarriages. I believe Shakespeare used this information as a contributing factor to her driving ambition; she wanted to succeed in the areas of life that she could as she had failed so many times in this area. I also think this could have been led to her eventually going mad. Both Macbeths are very affectionate towards each other, especially in the earlier scenes of the play. I do not think that a 'butcher' and a 'fiend' would show this genuine care for another person Although both Macbeth and his wife commit many immoral and destructive acts I do not think that the comment said by Malcolm at the end of the play about them being a 'butcher' and 'fiend-like' is true or fair. I think that Macbeth was weak and seduced by power and both of them feel remorse for what they do. However, I can see why it was said and why many people would believe it was true as the Macbeths did kill many innocent people in their pursuit of power and what they did was unforgivable but they are not purely evil. Laura Coles 10R - 1 - ...read more.

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