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'This Dead Butcher and His Fiend-Like Queen' - Is This An Accurate Assessment? Macbeth

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'This Dead Butcher and His Fiend-Like Queen' - Is This An Accurate Assessment? There are many ways in which this assessment of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth could be considered to be true. First and foremost is when Shakespeare introduces Macbeth to us in Act One, Scene Two. His brutality during the battle already makes us aware of his violent nature. Shakespeare's use of language makes it clear to the audience that the way in which Macbeth killed the Thane of Cawdor was barbaric. As the Captain speaks of "brave Macbeth" brandishing his sword "which smoked with bloody execution,/Like Valour's minion carved out his passage" an image of violence and butchery is being built up. This is added to further by talk of Macbeth meaning to "memorise another Golgotha". Only a true barbarian could think of recreating a murder like the one of Jesus Christ's crucifixion. After Macbeth has gained knowledge of the supposed path he is meant to take in life his thoughts change drastically. Although he may have chosen not to act upon the witches prophecies saying that "If chance will have [him] king, why chance may crown [him] without [his] stir" it isn't long before he changes his mind due to Duncan's announcement that his eldest son Malcolm shall be his successor. ...read more.


She excuses his behaviour on seeing the Ghost of Banquo as a "momentary" fit to conceal what is truly taking place. Although at the time Lady Macbeth did everything in her power to persuade her husband to murder Duncan with her strong desire for ambition and her cold nature, she did not force him to do it. Macbeth decided to kill Duncan of his own free will, fueled by ambition and greed. For 'Macbeth' to be a tragedy, as Shakespeare intended, no one other than himself could make the final decision that ultimately brings him down. He reached this conclusion, based on his ruinous fault, alone. Macbeth's devising and heroic leadership during battle, although seemed butcherous and barbaric, at that time was only seen as courageous and loyal towards his country. He was not considered a butcher because of his actions, instead was well respected, and after his feat of braveness, Duncan believed him worthy to receive the title of Thane of Cawdor, which was a huge honour. The problem with this, though, is that, along with the witches' prophecies, it helped to spark his ambition, which is ultimately his tragic flaw. The idea of becoming King appealed to Macbeth, yet he did not wish to kill Duncan to achieve this, and he listed his reasons in Act One, Scene Seven by saying, "First, as I ...read more.


Thinking that her hands are covered in Duncan's blood she constantly rubs them, "it is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands. She hysterically cries out "What, will these hands ne'er be clean?" and imagines the smell of the blood still remains which "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten [her] little hand." This behaviour shows Lady Macbeth is paying the penalty for the mistakes she helped to make. Her suffering is such that it leads to suicide, which shows that to call Lady Macbeth fiend-like is not at all accurate, for if she were, then the murders would not have had such a huge effect on her or even no effect at all. By the attempted kindness of sparing Macduff his life, and the courage he shows by fighting to his death like the fearless soldier we saw him as, when he was first introduced to us in the play, we are made aware that Macbeth can not be labeled as a butcher, but just a good man corrupted by the tragic flaw of ambition. Lady Macbeth's obvious suffering and regret is shown by her sleepwalking and suicide, when her subconscious reveals the true effect the murder of Duncan had on her. All the evidence I have considered was enough to lead me to the conclusion that Malcolm's assessment of the couple as "this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen" is altogether inaccurate. Firuze Naim 11P English Coursework ...read more.

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