Macbeth – A butcher, a savage slaughterer
A butcher, a savage slaughterer who is typically thpought to have no sensations of regret or remorse. This is used Malcolm’s description of Macbeth. At some points in the play “MACBETH” there are lots of visible examples that this meaning could be applied to Macbeth. Nevertheless at other points in the play, Shakespeare reveals the audience just how much guilt and regret Macbeth has, we are even revealed some self hatred from our once proud warrior.
Malcolm, the boy of Duncan, the dead king, describes Macbeth as “this dead butcher”.
There are numerous arguements for and versus this point, however I would hold the opinion that Macbeth is not a dead butcher, but he was infact trying to do the very best for his nation. It would not seem like this all through out the play though. When Macbeth faces the witches at the beginning of the play, he is considered a great worthy male, “O, valaint cousin! worthy gentleman!” The language utilized here to represent Macbeth is full, happy language.
All the words show that this is a male of truth and honour. Here at the beginnning of the play he is introduced to the witches.
If utilized as an example against Malcolm’s description, it can be taken that the actions performed by Macbeth through the play was not of his own totally free will but of witchcraft that has been placed on him. Later in the play we find proof that his mind is being tampered with, “Shall draw him onto his confusion;”.
Infact not all the blame can be placed upon Macbeths head alone, his dear wife Woman Macbeth was a strong impact in the descision to kill Duncan. This was however the very first and just murder she helped in, the murder of the other characters was created by only Macbeth. Even as Woman Macbeth asked the devil to take her regret away, “Block the passage and access to remorse;”, she ponders her own descision. Prior to the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth changes her mind and tries to avoid Macbeth from commiting the murder, however even his own arguement can not sway the passage of occasions which he will take location in.
On the otherhand Malcolm does have a reason to insult the dead Macbeth. He has not heard the same things as the audience and therefore does not know the personal hell Macbeth was going through at the end of the play, “I am
sick at heart,”. The evidence Malcolm has to support his view is overwelming but not complete. The main reasons Malcolm holds are the death of many people including his father, the quick decline of Scotland and the fact that Malolm originally fled from Scotland because he was under blame for the death of the King. It is quite clear that Malcolm is full of hatred for Macbeth, “This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tounges,”. The language Shakespeare uses now is of quite a different nature, all the words are powerful words and descriptions of hated, trechary and evil. Malcolms reasons for revenge were quite justified, his family had been killed and Macbeth had stolen the place on the throne, which Malcolm had once thought he deserved.
The first murder commited was the murder of Duncan, which some say was also the murder of Macbeth because of the dreams and voices he heard while commiting the crime. As Macbeth walked to Duncans sleeping room he sees the dagger he is going to use infront of his eyes floating in the air, “Is this a dagger I see before me,”. After the murder he starts to shows signs of such guilt and also a little maddness “Wake Duncan with the knocking. I would thou
couldst.” When talking to his wife he tells her that he heard a voice after the murder telling him that he would not sleep anymore, this becomes true, maybe not because of the voice but because of Macbeths self torment. Just before the murder Macbeth, in his room weighs the arguements to kill or not kill Duncan. The strongest of these arguements is that he really has no reason to kill him, The witches correctly predicted the death of the Thane of Cawdor which came about with no intervention of Macbeth, so maybe the same could be true about becoming king. Macbeth ignores this and thinks that the only way for him to be king, if the witches were infact telling the truth, was to get rid of all the obsictales in his way.
His second and third murders took place at the same time. In the morning of Duncans murder Macduff found the body, the two guards ouside the room had taken the blame, because of Lady Macbeth placing the knife on them. Macbeth seemed to have no guilt about these brutle murders and placing the blame on two innocent men. When Macduff tells of the murder Macbeth rushes and kills the guards “That I did kill them.” The fact that he kills them, and seems to have no problems with placing the blame on others is probably one of the strong points for Malcolm outburst.
His next murder is more carefully planned. Instead of a sudden outburst of anger he hires two murders to do the job for him. Here his signs of paranoia are showing because he also sends another murder to make sure everything goes to plan. This murder is more brutle most likely than the other murders, although he does not take part in it him self. He sends the murderers to kill his best friend and his son, Banquo and Fleance. When the murders report to Macbeth how their job went he says some cruel things about his dead friend,”‘T is better thee without, than he within.”. Here he is saying that ir is better for the blood to be on the murders hands than inside of Banquo, a brutle image that could be used by Shakespeare to sway the views of the audience since no other person hears this.
This conversation between the murderer and Macbeth takes place at his castle just after Macbeths corination. The banquet however is in honour of Banquo, in accordance with Macbeth. Even though it is thought bad to speak ill of the dead, Macbeth insults Banquo for not turning up to his banquet, and is thought of as rude. Until Macbeth goes to sit down he does not seem bothered about the death. Now the following incident could be an image of his mind, just like the floating knife, or it could be an act by the witches. As Macbeth tries to sit at the table he sees Banquo’s ghost in his chair. Nobody else sees it but Macbeth is clearly annoyed at Banquo. He claims that it is not his fault, “Thou canst not say, I did it;”
His only other more important murder after this before the final scene is the murder of Macduffs family. When Macduffs flees to England Macbeth again thinks the only solution is violence and he sends part of his army to kill all those who are more close to Macduff “His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
that trace him in this line.” Now with Macbeth and Macduff being friends, they have more than linkely visited eachothers castle before. So Macbeth has probably met, spoke and befriended Lady Macduff, but still he is able to just give an order for them to have their throats cut. Through these murders we find a lot of evidence to back up Malcolm, and draw our own conclusions that Macbeth does indeed have very little guilt. However, the personal torment he is being put through is not made known.
At the beginning of the play we are aware that Macbeth and his wife have a very good relationship together, “My dearest love,”, they even killed Duncan together. But towards the end their marridge seems to break down, we see how Lady Macbeth becomes ill and haunted by images of the murder, when he hears that she is dead and has taken her own life, all he can say is “She should have died hereafter;” that is all he says on her death. This may seem cold but we now know of his depression, and you cannot help but feel sorrow for his failed marridge.
So my views on Macbeth being a dead butcher was that he wasnt one at all. He could have been under the power of evil forces, and towords the end he was haunted by guilt. Once he started on the road he couldnt turn back. I doubt that it was all Macbeths fault, he did think he was doing the correct thing but he didnt know the effects it would have on others and infact his country.
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