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To what extent was Malcolm justified in his statement 'Macbeth the dead butcher and his fiend-like queen.'

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Introduction

To what extent was Malcolm justified in his statement 'Macbeth the dead butcher and his fiend-like queen.' 25th January 2003 Anthony Seymour It is an obvious fact that due to Malcolm being Duncan's son and hopeful for the throne, he will take a bias view against Macbeth and his lady, because they make the decision to kill the king and all opposition. In scene 2 Macbeth fights bravely alongside Banquo for King and country. Duncan praises Macbeth whilst in conversation to Banquo in scene 4 mentioning he has 'disdaining fortune', and also likens him to 'Bellona's bridegroom'. This shows a great mutual respect between the King and Macbeth. Macbeth, at this stage, is a loyal and heroic individual who strives for success. In my opinion he does not convey 'butcher' like tendencies early on, unless his act of sheer bravery and charisma in the opening battle is interpreted to be 'butcher' like behaviour. However, once he has been presented with the title 'Thane of Cawder' and listened to the 'instruments of darkness' he begins to envisage future glory and the possibility of toppling the throne. ...read more.

Middle

In this respect Malcolm was quite in his right to refer to Macbeth as a 'butcher'. When Macbeth is left alone, he imagines he sees a dagger in front of him. This dagger guides him towards his ultimate goal of killing Duncan. Initially he experiences horror at the reality of what he is contemplating. This shows he still displays an active conscious just before he commits his evil deed. It is difficult to determine whether he is truly an evil man. He kills Duncan despite his last minute warning which would certainly agree with Malcolm's accusation of him being a 'butcher' but Macbeth shows that he is not necessarily happy with all of his decisions; likewise is his 'fiendish' queen who finds it all too much towards the end. Lady Macbeth is rather more difficult than Macbeth to define as the essay title suggests. On one hand she shows a brutal scheming personality but also towards the end a side which shows she is obviously incapable of handling her ever-tormenting guilt and so suffers an untimely death. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Macbeth is entirely in control of her husband's actions with the exception of Banquo's death when their roles begin to switch. She planned the execution, and it was her readiness of mind and strength of purpose that compensated for Macbeth's failure to incriminate the guards once the murder was committed. This shows that she manipulates Macbeth and is overcautious to the penalty if they were to fail. She displays fiendish and devious behaviour continually through the plot where Macbeth is too overwhelmed with fear and guilt to think rationally, however I feel the fiendish behaviour she demonstrates is a token of her love and support to Macbeth and when reality punctures their surreal plan she is overthrown by guilt. I would suggest that there is enough evidence to show that both Macbeth and his lady acted as Malcolm exclaimed. However I feel that they were both guided by greed and power, each step of the plot casting them further from rationality. At the beginning they were both greatly in favour with the throne and loyal subjects of Duncan, but power can corrupt even the most trustworthy and so they both changed dramatically. ...read more.

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