How Is Macbeth a Butcher

Topics: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, Supernatural Pages: 9 (3641 words) Published: September 18, 2011
At the end of the play, Malcolm calls Macbeth a “butcher” and Lady Macbeth “his fiend-like queen.” How far do you agree with this assessment of their characters?

Macbeth is a play that was written with reference to king James as he and Macbeth both found it important to be a powerful ruler. During the Stuart period many people had a strong belief in the supernatural and in demonology, which was widespread throughout that era. King James had written a book entitled Demonology and had an interest in witchcraft and the supernatural, since he had encounters with witches that had plotted to kill him. King James also published a book under the title “The Divine Rights of Kings.” This is a term used for the belief that God had appointed the king therefore killing a King would be worse than any ordinary murder. This makes Macbeth reluctant to kill king Duncan, as it is a crime against God and nature. Duncan is the rightful King of Scotland who is murdered by Macbeth for his throne. He is a noble, well-respected and dignified king. Duncan is generous and trusting of the people around him perhaps to trusting especially of the two Thanes of Cawdor, both of who betray him. Duncan is an important symbol as he represents the divine right of kings rule.

In Act one Macbeth is a successful general, described using epithels as “noble”, valiant and “brave,” and respected by his king and his fellow soldiers. He has a significant flaw in his nature, however his ambition leads him to kill the rightful king of Scotland and the evil of this murder has extreme powerful effects on him. The witches play upon Macbeth’s weaknesses and so does his equally ambitious wife, Lady Macbeth. Macbeth thinks that the supernatural powers of the witches will help him but instead they lead him to ruin. The witches are evil incarnate they are spiteful, destructive and deceptive. They trick Macbeth with half-truths rather than lies. Macbeth commands the witches to reveal the future. In response they show him a series of a sprit apparitions, which trick him into believing, he is indestructible. The prophecies foreshadow what will happen to Macbeth in the tale they also foreshadow Macbeth’s fate. The witches convince Macbeth they have supernatural powers, this is evident in the quote, “I myself have all the other; and the very ports they below.” The witch says that she is capable of controlling the weather in the entire world. The witches chant “Fair is Foul and foul is fair” this quote contradicts itself and is an example of using an paradox that proves, it will be hard to differentiate between good and evil. This could mean that things that look good could appear to turn out evil and evil things might seem to be good. Just like for some of the characters in the play. This is the notion of appearance and reality some characters are deceived. Macbeth’s downfall is really his own fault because he makes a deliberate choice to take the road to evil. He is responsible for the murder for the King his two sleeping guards, his colleague Banquo, lady Macduff and her children. Onomatopoeia and foreshadowing are used when the three witches are casting their spells as seen in the words, “Double, double, toil and trouble.” The language used in these set of words is onomatopoeia, the witches foretell what will happen to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in the near future.

Lady Macbeth seems to have a very strong character, stronger even than Macbeth for she manages to persuade him to against his nature and better judgement. However, by the end she is reduced to a pitiful figure, afraid of the dark. At the beginning she is Macbeth’s “Dearest partner of greatness.” But at the end she is “his fiend-like queen.” Lady Macbeth can be seen as a villain who has a great lust for power. Lady Macbeth is eager to make her husband, Macbeth king and she wants to be queen. Macbeth has a strong belief in the saying of the witches this is evident when he reports to his wife, “I...
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