Macbeth As A Butcher Analysis

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In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth is portrayed as a ‘butcher’ whilst Lady Macbeth is ‘his fiend-like queen.’ However, it can be said that Shakespeare provides a contrast in the views of these characters as the audience are presented with Macbeth’s moral conscience and consequent suffering and Lady Macbeth’s dissimulation.

Shakespeare depicts Macbeth as a butcher and tyrannical leader in order to warn the audience of the chaos ensued if the king of a country is not its rightful leader. This mercilessly cruel nature is exposed when Macbeth plots to commit regicide, in order to ensure the prophecy of the witches becomes true. This ‘vaulting ambition’ is evident in ‘[Aside] The Prince of Cumberland: that is a step/ On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap.’ Because this speech is written as being aside, isolated from other characters and influences, the audience is able to experience Macbeth’s true thoughts and intentions. He
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He is described as being ‘Valour’s minion’ a personification of bravery itself, which was a commendable trait, indicating the masculinity expected of men at the time. Although it can be said that Macbeth already had a predisposition for violence, this violence was used in order to aid his country, without an ulterior, self-serving motive. Macbeth only contemplates regicide after the false predictions of the witches and the encouragement of Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth uses the mockery and degradation of Macbeth’s masculinity in order to persuade him to commit these butcherous actions. When Macbeth shows reluctance to commit, Lady Macbeth claims ‘When you durst do it, then you were a man.’ The questioning of Macbeth’s masculinity would have been considered a great insult at the time. Therefore this derision can be considered coercion into violence by Lady Macbeth to motivate Macbeth to maintain his reputation and not the actions of a truly evil

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