At the end of the play, Malcolm describes Macbeth as a ‘butcher’.To what extent do you agree that this is an accurate assessment of Macbeth’s character? Macbeth Coursework
By Nick horton
Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Macbeth’ concludes with the slain protagonist declared a ‘butcher’. The term Butcher has connotations of brutality and savagery, comparing Macbeth’s bloodthirsty deeds to those of a ruthless and indiscriminate murderer. Over the course of the play, we witness Macbeth turn from a loyal and brave soldier into a cold-blooded killer. Malcolm’s declaration condemns Macbeth for his tyranny and emphasises how his quest for an ultimately ‘fruitless crown’ drove him past the point of reason. However, it could be argued that without supernatural intervention from the witches – who prophesied that he would ‘be king hereafter’ and Lady Macbeths influence over her husband– Macbeth might not have gone on to commit treason. Shakespeare depicts Macbeth’s tragic downfall from a heroic character to a treasonous butcher, producing a disturbing effect as we witness his terrible fall from grace. Shakespeare first introduced Macbeth as he comes back from battle. Having fought well, he is described as ‘brave Macbeth’ by the King of Scotland, the highest recognition for his valour. Macbeth is described as having ‘carved out his passage’ as he battled his way to glory. The phase ‘carved out’ has connotations of butchery, as if Macbeth engraved his passage through life in blood. However, in the Jacobean era, killing for your country in battle was a heroic act of bravery not butchery Moreover Shakespeare at the beginning of the play, because Macbeth is afraid of killing unless in battle because "present fears are less that horrible imaginings." The general is a widely proclaimed war hero, but his vaulting ambition in his hamartia. This is fuelled by the Wyrd sisters who tell him, “all hail Macbeth that shall be king hereafter.” These prophesy drives Macbeth to acts of butchery;...
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