Analysis of Macbeth by William Shakespeare At the conclusion of the play, Malcolm refers to Macbeth as “this dead
butcher and his fiend like queen.” This is in direct contrast to the
audience’s introduction to Macbeth where he is described as a brave
courageous soldier, loyal to his king Duncan and devoted to his wife.
Aristotle said that the only “proper subject of tragedy, is the
spectacle of a man not absolutely or eminently good or wise that is
brought to disaster not by sheer depravity but by some error or
Critic A. Quiller-Couch states that “tragedy demands some sympathy
with the fortunes of the hero and however gross his error or grievous
his frailty, it must not exclude our feeling that he is a man like
ourselves.” He argues how Shakespeare could make the audience
sympathize with Macbeth, “a murderer and a murderer for his private
profit… a traitor to his king, ingrate, self seeker, false kinsman,
and perjured soldier.” The tragedy of Macbeth is that knowing the
murder of Duncan will change his life forever and he understands that
evil turns on the evil doer and that “bloody instruction… return to
plague th’ inventor,” he still goes ahead with the murder. Macbeth is
a flawed character, his frailty is greed and ambition and he becomes
the victim of circumstances beyond his control. A. Quiller. Couch’s
opinion Shakespeare has made Macbeth proceed to his crime “under some
fake hallucination.” The initial image of Macbeth as brave and
courageous is deceptive for it is his weakness, recognized by Lady
Macbeth “yet I do fear...
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determination. Secondly, she is shown as a powerless queen who is no
longer dominant of Macbeth. Thirdly Lady Macbeth is shown as an insane
sleepwalker constantly being shown the crimes of the past and
sufferings they have brought.
In conclusion Malcolm’s description of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as
“this dead butcher and his fiend like queen” is seen as quite harsh.
Macbeth is tormented by his deeds and he never was to enjoy the crown
that he has taken. We see him as a man who tries to take fate into his
won hands and this action brings him nothing but grief and suffering.
Therefore Macbeth should not be referred to as a butcher. Lady Macbeth
does not deserve such a harsh title as she has committed no murder and
it can be questioned if Malcolm ever saw the confrontation of murder
from Lady Macbeth to Macbeth.