• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "this dead butcher, and his fiend-like queen". Are these words by Malcolm an appropriate ...

    4 star(s)

    The Captain tells Duncan that out of nowhere new soldiers arrive. Duncan asks him if Macbeth and Banquo were dismayed, and the Captain replies by saying, "Yes, As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion." Here the Captain is being sarcastic, as he states that as hares eat lions, and sparrows eat eagles.

  2. To what extent is Lady Macbeth a 'fiend-like queen?

    his youth' which shows she is not a fiend because she does not want any harm to come to him. When the 'fit' finally stops Lady Macbeth does, in effect, actually throw her guests out by telling them 'stand not upon the order of you going, but go at once'

  1. Was this your judgement of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth? "The dead butcher and his ...

    it looks as if Macbeth is hiding something because he has gone mad. Lady Macbeth claims that he often gets sudden fits and she then left the table to speak with him. Lady Macbeth questions his manhood ('Are you a man').

  2. This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen. To what extent do you agree with ...

    " Lady Macbeth shows the immoral side of her through the speech as we begin to realise that she is fanatically obsessed with her ambition of killing the King. She warns Macbeth to make the most of what he can have and goes as far as to hint that Macbeth

  1. At the end of the play Malcolm refers to this dead butcher and his ...

    This is the start of Lady Macbeth's undoing and one of the reasons for it is because of her disappointment. She thought that once she was queen every thing would be good and would mean that she would gain loads of power.

  2. Of this dead butcher and his fiend like queen." To what extent do you ...

    "Beware of Macduff." (Act IV Scene I ) Macbeth is in fact, ashamed of his deeds. " Let not light see my black and deep desires." (Act I Scene IV) Macbeth's hallucinations indicate that he is troubled by the murders of Banquo and Duncan and possibly regretful "Is this a dagger which I see before me."

  1. "This butcher and his fiend like queen"

    Near to the end, Macbeth has even, "Forgot the taste of fears". It's as if he had overcome fear, which had made him able to be ruthless, and murderous. On the other hand the justification of Macbeth as a butcher could not be reasonable, after all, at the beginning of

  2. Macbeth the Dead Butcher and His Fiend Like Queen

    She realizes too late that forcing Macbeth in killing Duncan has been the greatest mistake of her life because later, even Macbeth himself cannot stop himself from being utterly inhuman because he already has crossed the line of morality and immorality.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work