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"This dead butcher and his fiend like queen", is the way in which Malcolm describes Macbeth and Lady Macbeth; is this a fair assessment of Macbeth and his wife?

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Introduction

"This dead butcher and his fiend like queen", is the way in which Malcolm describes Macbeth and Lady Macbeth; is this a fair assessment of Macbeth and his wife? The actions of Macbeth must be evaluated by his own personal motivations, actions and decisions as well as external causes which may have led to them. It is established from the beginning that Macbeth possesses great ambition. A certain amount of courage accompanies this. And as a noble; he is an active one; fighting against the forces of a rebel lord, and those of an invading Norwegian King in defence of his own king; Duncan. And in the defence of his homeland; Scotland. A Captain in his army gives Duncan most flattering account of his deeds; claiming "Brave Macbeth" to disdain fortune, and "Like Valors' minion" to carve "out" a "passage" until he faced Macdonald. But without doubt Macbeth does this not only out of patriotism and loyalty, but also out of a hope for notoriety and material rewards. This is made clear in Macbeths gracious acceptance of credit for his deeds. However, there is little sign of his path as a Loyal nobleman altering. Until outside forces intervene. And convince him that greater things await. The witches are most certainly the "trigger" of the events that eventually lead Macbeth to become king. And it is probable that had he not met them, then he would not have been so convinced of his right to be king. ...read more.

Middle

held" them "Under fortune, which you thought had been our (Macbeth; he uses the royal plural) innocent self". This shows that he definitely doesn't want to feel guilty for what he is about to do. But this does not necessarily means he cares for Banquo; he informs the murderers that he "Requires a clearness" meaning that he wants to keep the deed at arms length; he doesn't want to get his hands dirty. He tells them to "leave no rubs nor botches in the work", this means that everything must happen according to plan, and nothing must be traceable back to him. Lady Macbeth later tries to convince him not to continue with the murders telling him that he "must leave this". Macbeth ignores her. The two continue to drift apart. Later at the banquet; Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo. This is possibly an emanation of his guilt. When Macbeth is told that Macduff has gone to England to find Malcom, Macbeth sends the murderers to kill Macduffs' family. He shows no apparent guilt for this. By now Macbeth and his wife barely speak. Both of them are isolated and without true friends; their solitary state; without each others support has left Lady Macbeth insane with guilt. And Macbeth depressed and paranoid. He speaks a soliloquy; he says "And that which should accompany old age. As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have" he means that he has been robbed of an ordinary and peaceful life that he could have had. ...read more.

Conclusion

Later in the play, she sleepwalks around the castle by night; speaking past conversations. Relating to past events. All of which had a bearing on the murder. At one point she exclaims "who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him!?" and mimes washing her hands. Fretting that "all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand" that she believes is still covered in blood. This is evidence of a guilty conscience. Lady Macbeth had begun as a scheming, deceitful, cold hearted and dark figure. By the end, she had become something a lot weaker; ridden by her guilt and fear. She was but a shell of what once was. The Doctor tells Macbeth that she is "troubled with thick-coming fancies". I ultimately feel that Lady Macbeth cannot be described as a fiend. Because although she may have been dark, ruthless and some-times down-right creepy. She couldn't stop feeling guilt; as unlike her husband; who had seen the horrors of warfare; and killed many men. She had been at home; and knew not, what murder entailed. Although for the first half of the play she was certainly dominant in the Macbeths' relationship; she was in some respects fiendish. She was not a fiend herself. I think that when Malcom referred to the Macbeths as "The Butcher and his fiend-like queen" he was possibly vilifying them for the murder of his father. And the statement was partially one of hatred and dramatic value as opposed to fact. ...read more.

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