This sample essay on Macbeth Dead Butcher provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
‘A butcher’ conveys an image of someone who retails meat for a living and so slaughters or dresses meat. This kind of butcher has no feelings and no consequence to his actions. Another kind of ‘butcher’ is the kind that kills indiscriminately or brutally. This kind of butcher would perform his actions cold bloodedly. An example of this butchery is when Hitler massacred millions during the 1940’s. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is courageous and ‘brave’, his fighting skills and generalship have allowed him to win the battle against the most ‘disloyal Thane of Cawdor.’
In the beginning of the play Macbeth is a ‘most worthiest cousin.’ He is respected by his army for his bravery and savage fighting skills, killing Macdonwald ‘like valour’s minion.’ Even from the start his savage and terrifying fighting skills are portrayed, suggesting that he is a warrior but at the start he only fights because it is his job, like the butcher’s job is to dress meat.
Macbeth has a vivid imagination and is greatly superstitious so when the witches prophesise that Macbeth will be ‘Thane of Glamis’, ‘Thane of Cawdor’ and most importantly ‘king hereafter.’ He is ‘rapt withall’ because his thoughts have been put into words, showing that even before he met the witches he had great ambition. The witches influence his uncontrollable imagination so much that before the actual murder his ‘function is smothered in surmise.’
The Dead Butcher And The Fiend Like Queen
When it is so active it creates ‘present fears’ which are ‘less than horrible imaginings.’ Macbeth has been spurred into believing or considering the ‘take off’ (an euphemism) of Duncan. Shakespeare creates the witches, as if they are a physical embodiment of evil, even part of Macbeth’s evil, however the witches only catalyse Macbeth’s fate. The fact that Macbeth is linked to the witches at the very beginning as he repeats the words ‘fair and foul and day’, immediately suggests that something sinister will happen to Macbeth.
His vivid imagination contributes greatly to the murder of Duncan, Macbeth believes he must follow an ‘air drawn dagger’ these imaginative hallucinations become intense and highly figurative as he contemplates the murder of the king.
Lady Macbeth can also be considered as Macbeth’s ‘partner of greatness’ at the beginning of the play. As Lady Macbeth recognises that he ‘wouldst be great’ if Macbeth was not an ‘innocent flower’ but the ‘serpent under’t.’ Lady Macbeth therefore, wants to be full of ‘direst cruelty’ so that she can ‘prick the sides of his intent.’ Lady Macbeth goads Macbeth into the murder by playing upon his manhood finally persuading him to commit the murder.
Macbeth was originally going to leave becoming king to ‘chance’ but when Malcolm is named Duncan’s successor he believes he must ‘oerleap’ this ‘obstacle’ His indecisiveness shows at this point that he is not a ‘butcher’. Firstly he believes that Duncan ‘hath honoured’ him of late but because of Macbeth’s ‘vaulting ambition’, the overmastering wife, ‘Bellona’ (the goddess of war, Macbeth is named Bellona’s bridegroom at the beginning of the play suggesting that at this point it was Lady Macbeth that was the stronger of the two.) and the influences and prophesies of the ‘weird sisters’ he commits the ‘dreadful deed’
The killing of Duncan shows that his conscience was not strong enough. He does, however, at this point show some remorse. He was troubled by the contemplation of tyranny and by the actual murder. He even shows a hint of insanity as he becomes obsessed that ‘blood will have blood’ and so forth becomes deluded that more murders will secure his position on the throne. The deterioration of Macbeth’s character begins as he starts his series of murders.
As well as killing Duncan he kills the guards in the first of the many vain attempts to distance himself from the consequences of his actions in murdering the king. He is a moral coward, he fears Banquo, due to Banquo’s stronger spirit, ‘royalty of nature’ something Macbeth lacks, as well as being ignorant of the fact that Banquo has kept his ‘bosom franchise and allegiance clear’ Because of this Macbeth orders the murder of Banquo and his son, Fleance. While the murder is being carried out Macbeth is ruthless enough to urge his wife to honour Banquo as the chief guest. Macbeth cannot wait until after the banquet to hear the report as to whether the murderers have succeeded in their task, he takes a great risk, as there are many guests at the banquet. The ways in which Banquo and Duncan are killed with ‘gashes to their head’ suggest a theme of butchery in Macbeth’s character.
After these murders he needs the witches’ encouragement and reassurance and so when they prophesise that ‘no man of woman borne will harm Macbeth’ he is given the faith to go on with his ‘charmed life’
Macbeth’s brutality exemplifies his butchery in the vow to slaughter ‘all unfortunate souls’ that ‘trace’ Macduff’s line. He murders Macduff’s wife and babe in a frenzied spite. Shakespeare uses a family scene of a mother and son, before the murder, to provoke great empathy for them when they are killed. This murder is done in cold blood and shows that at this point Macbeth is a homicidal tyrant. The murder is made even more dramatic by the fact that the mother and child are innocent; it is Macduff that posed a threat to Macbeth, because he ‘ was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.’
Scotland also suffered from Macbeth’s ‘boundless cruelty’; in contrast to the noble Macbeth at the beginning of the play he is seen as a ‘devil abhorred tyrant’ who is ‘mad’. Malcolm describes Macbeth ‘s rule to cause great suffering for Scotland ‘each new morn… new orphans cry’ shows Macbeth’s cruelty. Ross says that ‘sighs and groan rent the air,’ showing how Macbeth’s ruling has had great effect on the country.
Macbeth’s character is at it’s lowest; this is the point in which we have no sympathy for Macbeth’s actions. However, the action that shows that a ‘butcher’ is not a fully adequate description of Macbeth is when Macbeth shows some remorse and courage. Even though Macbeth knows that he is beaten as all the predictions have come true Macbeth vows to fight even though he is now weary of life ‘stepped in so far it would be easier to go on as to go back.’ After Lady Macbeth’s death he sees no meaning to his life, he uses constant repetition of ‘tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow ‘ to show how empty he sees his life. In trying to attain his kingship it has left him with nothing, his ‘dearest love’ has died and he has lost the will to live.
We cannot condemn Macbeth as he shows remorse; in that he is reluctant to fight Macduff because of what he has already done to his family and that he is ‘not of woman borne.’ Macbeth believes that the witches have tricked him and so Macduff says that unless he fights he will be shown as ‘rare monsters’ were. Macbeth desires some self-respect and believes that ‘his soul is already charged with blood of thine’ therefore Macbeth nobly engages in battle with Macduff. His moral degradation is so low that even his enemies take pity on him. It is also ironic that it is Macbeth, in this tragic play, who becomes the one who is butchered and Macduff shows his ‘cursed head’ to Scotland.
I believe that Macbeth was not innocent, he performed brutal butchery at times but he shows some repentance as he nobly fights Macduff knowing he will be killed. Like the first Thane of Cawdor ‘nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.’