The Dead Butcher and His Fiend-Like Queen
Malcolm is referring to Macbeth as the “dead butcher” and to Lady Macbeth as “his fiend-like queen. ” A butcher in the use of this play is a person who kills showing no regret for their actions or reason for the killings. The fiend as Lady Macbeth is to say she is very evil and has no morals, able to bend other’s wills to equal her own giving them a confused air of what they really want. On the other hand to say Macbeth was always a butcher is an unfair evaluation of him, as it doesn’t reflect the views that the whole of Scotland had at the beginning of the play.
Fiend is a brilliant way to describe Lady Macbeth as she is the one who initially introduced the feeling of evil into the play and into Macbeth leading him to commit the act of treason against God’s representative on Earth, King Duncan. To begin with Macbeth is a highly respected Thane of Glamis with a set life for his wife, Lady Macbeth and himself. He is referred to as “noble” and a “valiant soldier” not at all a butcher and would die in battle for his King.
The Dead Butcher and His Fiend-Like Queen Essay Example
His noble acts then promote him to Thane of Cawdor. Following his well-deserved promotion Lady Macbeth had a letter delivered about Macbeth’s encounter with witches, their prophecies and his transfer to Thane of Cawdor. Lady Macbeth hatches a plan to ensure all of the witches prophecies become reality by getting rid of the one thing that stands in their way: King Duncan. However her plan is interrupted by Macbeth who is loyal to the King and refuses to be a part of the fiendish act.
She knows he has ambition and it would be difficult for her to convince him to commit the act of treason, “yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’th’ milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great, art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it. ” Lady Macbeth’s fiend-like qualities have shown after Macbeth’s letter is received. She seems to show a strong hate towards the limitations of her sex. Being a woman traditionally holds feelings of sensitivity and being beautiful limits her from being capable of committing murder.
In her famous soliloquy she says: “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty. ” She wishes to be removed from her body to be able to commit the deed which cannot be done while she is a woman. Further in her soliloquy she says: “Make thick my blood, stood up th’ access and passage to remorse…” Not only does she want the limitations removed, but she also wishes for the guilt to end, an end to her remorse and emotions.
This combination will enable her to become more of a butcher than Macbeth ever was. Throughout the whole play Lady Macbeth gives the definition to the term fiend. Macbeth again is seen to disprove the image of a butcher before Duncan’s murder as he reconsiders whether his actions will have any effect and whether he should continue or not. Macbeth says: “First, I am his kinsman and his subject- strong both against the deed…” and argues against the murder of Duncan, he doesn’t believe that it is right that he kills Duncan due to family and royal relations.
Macbeth succeeds in persuading himself against the murder of Duncan, as shown when he says, “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on the other…” He compares his inner ambition to the riding of a horse, but then he states the he has no reason to leap high off of his horse to kill the king because he knows he will eventually fall. Clearly no butcher would freeze and think over their actions before actually committing them, and a real butcher would never be able to stop themselves from doing the senseless act that is described as butchery.
At this point in the play Lady Macbeth is shown to use her methods of persuasion on Macbeth himself. One of these is her knowing of his weaknesses and she uses this to her advantage to change his opinion again. She says: “To be the same in thine own act and valour as thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem…” In this single statement Lady Macbeth attacks Macbeth’s honour and bravery as well as his inner ambition. Macbeth is being told to act as he thinks and becoming cowardly for not doing it.
The unlikeliness of Macbeth being called a coward before lets the comment gets under his skin and tries to prove to his wife that his courage is intact. However, Lady Macbeth’s intentions are not understood until she backs up her argument to why Duncan should be murdered: “I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this. ” No human says but a fiend, what mother would intentionally hurt their child even if they had sworn to do it? Macbeth is not a butcher, and Lady Macbeth is not just a fiend.
As shown, although Malcolm’s statement does describe certain aspects of the personalities it is a vague description of the whole extent of their characters. Macbeth is a brave and valiant man who had been turned to butchery by weakness and his desire to gain power, exploited by his wife. Fiendish is a more decent way to describe Lady Macbeth but it still lacks the ability to capture her true nature as disturbed and evil. It would be fair to say that the statement tries to create an overall evaluation of both characters in a single statement but in the process makes them seem less dramatic and complex than they actually are.