Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as A Dead Butcher and His Fiend-like Queen in William Shakespeare's Macbeth
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's four famous tragedies. It was written
in 1605-1606, at the peak of Shakespeare's career; and was chosen to
accolade the new King James I of England, who had been James VI of
Scotland. He had a fascination with witchcraft and the supernatural,
so the play 'Macbeth' complimented his passion.
Shakespeare is famed for his use of the English language, ''turning
nouns to verbs and verbs to nouns", and adding new words and
expressions to the English language. His play, Macbeth is most famous
for its brutal insights into characters and the impact of good and
evil. At the time when it was written, there was a belief that where
evil breaks into the heart of a king, this evil spreads throughout the
entire state over which he rules. Shakespeare has used this belief and
created a tragedy making an ambitious thane and his wife find evil via
three sadistic witches, and the destructive impact it has.
It is Malcom who named Macbeth and Lady Macbeth "a dead butcher and
his fiend like queen", and our first impression of Macbeth is
completely contrary to Malcom's suggestion. We hear of others talking
of "brave Macbeth". Without actually meeting him, we have already
formed in our minds an image of a "worthy gentleman". At this point
the description of him as a "dead butcher" seems very far from the
mark. King Duncan obviously shows great trust in Macbeth, as announces
that "...noble Macbeth hath won" the title of 'Thane of Cawdor.' This
impression of Macbeth is before he meets the witches and before any
element of evil has been thrown upon him in the play. He has been
fighting for his country, and risking his life so that Scotland will
remain victorious. This is showing us that before he meets the
witches, or is imposed upon by Lady Macbeth, Macbeth is a "valiant"
man, who is loyal to his King and country.
Macbeth's first reaction to the witch's prophecies is to kill the King
so that he shall be crowned. However although this appears to be a "butcher"-
like plan, Macbeth soon has doubts on the situation. His admittance
that Duncan "hath honoured me of late", and that "He's here in double
trust", show the guilt that Macbeth would feel and the loyalty he
still possesses towards his king. He tells Lady Macbeth that "we will
proceed no further in this business ". However he is too easily
persuaded by his wife to continue in their evil plan. Macbeth's
selfish nature begins to be shown here. He only agrees to commit
Duncan's murder when another "shall bear the guilt". This seems the
easy option for Macbeth as he can obtain his title as king and shift
the blame and consequences to somebody else, he is happy for others to
suffer for his own aid.
Our first impression of...