Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, a "Dealike Butcher" and a "Fiend"?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Topic: Macbeth, Macduff, Lady Macduff
  • Pages : 6 (1844 words )
  • Download(s) : 232
  • Published : October 8, 1999
Open Document
Text Preview
"This dead like butcher and his fiend like queen" is this a fair description of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?
Malcolm made the remark "This dead like butcher and his fiend like queen," when he was crowned as the king of Scotland, after Macbeth's reign of terror. It becomes questionable upon the fairness of this justification, whether or not Macbeth was really a "butcher" and whether or not Lady Macbeth was a "fiend."

In some ways, Macbeth would have fit the description of being a "butcher," after all, he had taken the lives of many people, some of them were even close associates of Macbeth. He assassinated Duncan, the king, in order to gain the throne, as he says,

"I have done the deed"

He also murdered Banquo, who was his best friend, due to two different reasons. The first is the witches' prophecies, which predicted that Banquo's son is to become king, and secondly, there is a sense that Banquo has his suspicions on the assassinator of the king. Acting under the name of fear, he slaughtered Lady Macduff and her son, due to the prophecies made by the witches,

"Beware the thane of Fife"

Macbeth only resolved himself into a far more stereotypical villain when he felt that he had gone to far, as he says,
"I am in blood stepped I do far."

His ambition of staying king now begins to spur him toward further horrifying deeds, and he starts to disregard and even challenge fate and fortune.
Each successive murder reduces his human characteristics still further, until he appears to be the more dominant partner in the marriage. Nevertheless, the new-found resolve, which causes Macbeth to "wade" onward into his self-created river of blood, is persistently alarmed by supernatural events, the ghost of Banquo, an evidence suggesting Macbeth isn't at the right state of mind, that his guilt has affected him deeply.

Macbeth was also seen as a ruthless tyrannical king, as he is referred to by Malcolm and Macduff, as "tyrant," and "a devil." In order to protect his title, Macbeth had to murder those who get in his way, and he even planted spies in every household in Scotland. 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 the play he was a warrior hero, whose fame o the battlefield wins him great honour from the king. He was a

"Valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman,"

A remark made by the former king whom Macbeth assassinated. Macbeth is portrayed as a brave soldier. Phrases such as "Valour's minion," which means servant of courage and "Bellona's bridegroom," which means the husband of war gives out a sense of Macbeth's superheroism. Macbeth and Banquo are also described by the captain as "eagles" and "lions" unafraid of the opposing army, who were compared to " sparrows and hares."

The witches made a prophecy that Macbeth was to become Thane of Cawdor, and eventually king of Scotland. It was only after the first prophecy that he was to become Thane of Cawdor became the truth, did he have thoughts of regicide

Through his asides and soliloquies we, as the audience can see that Macbeth is only a human being whose private ambitions are made clear, as he says
"Stars hide your fires let not light see my black and deep desires."
These dark thoughts often conflict with the opinion others have of him, which he describes as,
"Golden opinions from all sorts of people"

Ironically, while hiding his "deep and dark desires" Macbeth's thoughts remained confused before, during and after the murder of Duncan. When he is about to commit murder, he undergoes a terrible pang of conscience, as he says

"I have no spur to prick the...
tracking img