In the final scene of the play, we hear Malcolm’s feeling towards Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Malcolm describes Macbeth as a butcher and Lady Macbeth as a devil. Malcolm feelings in the final scene may be biased as he feels that Macbeth killed his father for no reason. The audience in this play have been able to hear Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s soliloquies, and have followed their action thought out the play. This has helped the audience to identify and understand why they have done what they have done. We have to look closely at Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to see how far Shakespeare has encouraged the statement made by Malcolm in the play.
Macbeth is compared to a butcher. A butcher cuts up animals with no emotional engagement to the animal. A butcher may be thought of as a cold hearted and cruel person, despite this people are still very happy to go to the butchers shop and buy meat. They are often seen to have no conscience, as they give no second thought to what they are doing. I do not feel that Shakespeare has encouraged the audience to think of Macbeth as a butcher. At the beginning of the play, Shakespeare has portrayed Macbeth to be a brave and respected person as he has risked his life to save Scotland for King Duncan.
Macbeth is rewarded, by being giving another title “Thane of Cawdor”. The audience see Macbeth as a hero. Shakespeare has put the scene where we hear about Scotland’s victory after the scene where we meet the witches. The scene with the witches is unsettling, strange, and mysterious. The scene ends with an unsettling chant: “Fair is foul and foul is fair” As we go into the next scene and hear about Macbeth, the audience feel settled and relived as he has saved the king, which shows him to be loyal, and the audience feel as if they can trust him.
The audience see another side to Macbeth when the witches give him his first prophecy. The audience can tell that Macbeth is interested to hear what the witches have to say, as he wants to know more. This tells the audience that Macbeth is ambitious and has a greed for power. In the first prophecy, Macbeth is told that he could be king. The audience hear a soliloquy by Macbeth: “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical” This tells the audience that Macbeth is thinking about committing the murder. Macbeth gets an image of the murder in his mind.
The audience can tell that Macbeth is scared: Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair” This tells the audience that Macbeth is so scared that his hair is standing on end. This is not like a butcher, as a butcher does not get scares before it cuts a piece of meat. In Macbeth’s mind, there is a conflict between his loyalty to his king and his ambition to be king. This leaves Macbeth very confused. The audience are left wondering what Macbeth is going to do. In this scene, I do not feel that Shakespeare had encouraged the audience to think of Macbeth as a butcher, as we are shown that Macbeth is thinking about the murder.
Macbeth is obviously very stressed out about committing the murder. This makes him hallucinate. Macbeth sees a dagger covered in blood; this dagger leads Macbeth to King Duncan. This shows the audience that he is mentally unstable, as his conscience is creating the dagger. Subconscious Macbeth knows that the murder is wrong. Macbeth even echoes some words from the bible: “Thou sure and firm-set earth Hear not my steps whish way they walk Thy stones privet of my whereabouts” Shakespeare has shown Macbeth to have a conscience, as he is thinking about the murder and is arguing with himself whether to commit the murder or not.
Macbeth is weighing up the positive and negative points about committing the murder, and reasoning each point through trying to be sensible. This is not like a butcher. A butcher does not have a conscience and does not weigh up the positive and negative points in his mind, to decide whether they should cut up the meat of not. They just do it without giving it a second thought, as it is their job, it is what they are paid to do. Macbeth can be compared to a butcher, as Macbeth feels, as it is his duty to kill these people. He feels this way because of the witches’ prophecy, and has been told that he will become king.
Macbeth feels that becoming king is the big payment in return for all the murders he has committed: “With his surcease success” Here Macbeth is considering a good point about killing King Duncan, he will get the throne, but Macbeth’s conscience also makes him consider a point why he should not commit the murder: “Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself. ” Macbeth feels that he should be the one protesting King Duncan in his house, not the one trying to kill him.
Shakespeare made the audience identify with Macbeth. Macbeth still wants more. This is part of human nature. This makes the audience think is there a part of Macbeth in everyone. This has an effect on the audience’s judgement. I feel that this makes the audience think maybe the murders which he has committed are justified as in all part of human nature, as we all want more and would do anything to get more, even if it means killing your best friend. It makes the audience think what would their do if there were in Macbeth position: “To be thus is nothing But to be safely thus”
Macbeth wants to be secure on the throne and to do this he must kill Banqo, his best friend, as Banqo also heard the prophecy given by the witches. This means that Banqo heard that his descendants would be king. Macbeth sees Banqo as a threat, and feels that Banqo and his son have to be taken out of the picture to ensure that he is secure on the throne. Macbeth does not want to commit the murder himself. This could be because he does not want to go through the whole ordeal with King Duncan again, as this time it would be worst, as it is his best friend who he has emotional attachment too.
Macbeth manipulates some men in to committing the murder for him. This is done by telling the men how being a man involves them to kill people, to get revenge on them. Shakespeare has portrayed Macbeth to be a coward, as he is not able to face up to what he is doing as he is getting someone else to committee the crime for him. So he dose not have to see the murder. He thinks that this will make it easier for him to carry on life as normal, as he thinks that he will not have to live with the guilt. The audience are made to identify Macbeth with Lady Macbeth as they both do the same action before a murder is committed.
Lady Macbeth said a dark prayer to the evil sprits for her conscience to be taken away, and for it to be so dark that, she will not be able to see herself committing the murder. Lady Macbeth does not feel that she has it in her to commit the murder, so she manipulates Macbeth in to doing it. The audience have already identified Lady Macbeth with the evil witches, and this makes the audience start to ask question like has Macbeth got an evil streak in him? Macbeth is portrayed as a colder person, as he is committing this murder from a distance. Macbeth also gets the murders to kill Fleance, an innocent child.
The audience are now able to see the darker side to Macbeth, and now able to see a slight similarity with Macbeth and a butcher, as they are both seen as cold hearted people. On the other hand, Macbeth starts to hallucinate again and sees the ghost of Banqo; he then tries to deny the murder to the ghost. This seems like a desperate response. The ghost of Banqo had been created by Macbeth’s conscience. This happens in front of all of Macbeth’s guests. The guests think that Macbeth is going insane, as they do not understand what he is talking about: It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood” Macbeth says this once the guests have left. Macbeth thinks that the blood of those he has killed will come back to kill him. Macbeth has no inner peace. All these murders are eating him up inside: “O full of scorpions is my mind” Macbeth mind is filled with poison and it is playing with his mind, by making him hallucinate. This is not like a butcher, as a butcher does not start to hallucinate and have nightmares about the animals he has killed, butchers do not manipulate someone into committing the murder for them.
They do not deny the fact that they have killed an animal; in fact, they are quite open about it as they cut up the meat in the shop window in the daytime for the passers-by to see. Macbeth feels that by committing more evil deeds, it will make him feel stronger which is what he wants: “Things bad begun make strong themselves By ill” This makes it seem as if the murders are a daily chore. This is like a butcher, as a butcher has to go to work everyday and cut up meat without giving it a second thought. The audience can see that Macbeth is paranoid as he thinks that Macduff suspects something, which is why he did not come to the feast.
I think that it is paranoia, which forces him to commit one of the coldest murders in the play, the murder of Macduff’s wife and children. Macbeth intended to kill Macduff but could not as he had fled to England. As Macbeth cannot get to Macduff, he decides to kill the most important people closest to Macduff’s heart, his wife and children. The audience cannot justify these murders, as these people have done nothing to him. These murder expose Macbeth’s darkest side. Shakespeare has portrayed Macbeth to the audience as a very cold-hearted and bitter person.
Macbeth is insecure and has no inner peace left as his mind is filled with scorpions. It is as if it has come to the point where Macbeth does not need a reason for his action he just does as he pleases without giving it a second thought. The audience no longer feel that they can identify with Macbeth, we feel distant from him. It is almost as if everything in the play has turned around. In the beginning of the play, we hated Macbeth and sympathised with Macbeth, but Now Lady Macbeth has become a softer person and we hate Macbeth. If is as is they have switched rolls. This is what the witches predicted in there prophecy: Fair is foul, foul is fair” The witches are telling us that things will turn upside-down, good will turn bad and bad will turn good. In this scene, I do not feel that Shakespeare has encouraged us to think of Macbeth as a butcher, as his actions cannot be justified and the audience feel disgusted by him, as they do not understand how a man can carry out such horrific murders. Macduff’s reaction to the death of his wife is very different to Macbeth’s reaction to the death of his wife. Macduff is speechless whereas Macbeth has quite a long speech when he first hears about the death of his wife.
Macduff is very upset and even talks about crying, whereas Macbeth was aware that something like this was going to happen and does not seem as sad. When the audience make this comparison, it shows them that Macbeth has no feelings towards his wife. The audience feel that not only has Macbeth distances himself from them but also from the only person he could tell everything to, his wife Lady Macbeth. Macbeth is left a very isolated man as his wife and best friend; the two people he could count on are dead. Towards the end of the play I feel that Shakespeare has encourages the audience to think of Macbeth as a butcher.
Macbeth has almost become immune to screams, unlike at the beginning of the play where the slightest noise would make him jump: “I have almost forgotten the taste of fear” This could be because Macbeth has committed so many murders and witnessed some terrible things, he is no longer afraid. He can no longer feel fear. To be a true person you need all of your emotional reactions to balance you as a person, for example you cannot have good without bad or happiness without fear. In the play the audience have a mixed response towards Macbeth. At the beginning of the play he is shown to be a hero as he has saves Scotland.
The audience are then disgusted by his action as he is killing so many people for no other reason apart from greed for power. At the end of the play, Macbeth faces up to things and dies fighting. In the final fight scene between Macbeth and Macduff, Macbeth pulls back and does not kill Macduff as he feels that he has already hurt him enough by killing his family, and does not need to get back at him any more. This shows the audience that there is some goodness left in him. Macbeth is determines to die a fighting man and will not give in until the flesh is hacked of his bones.
Macbeth leaves the audience thinking of him as a brave man, as the audience would not have been able to face up to things like he has. I do not feel that Shakespeare has encouraged his audience to think of Macbeth as a butcher. At the end of the play, the audience are made to sympathize with Macbeth, and are not left thinking of him as a butcher, despite the fact that Shakespeare slightly encourages them at the end of the play. Malcolm has describes Lady Macbeth as a fiend-like queen. A fiend is a devil. It is an evil supernatural being from hell, which is extremely wicked and cruel.
When we first meet Lady Macbeth in the play, we immediately notice that she wants power and success and she can only do this through Macbeth, but she is afraid that she does not have the courage to do the deeds herself. She sees Macbeth as ambitious but without evil. The audience immediately link Lady Macbeth with the witches as they both bring out evil qualities in Macbeth. We immediately notice a link, as when she greets Macbeth it is similar to the way the witches greeted him: “Great Glamis, worthy Cawdor” Both Lady Macbeth and the witches greet Macbeth with his titles.
I think that Lady Macbeth does this to flatter Macbeth in order to manipulate him into doing what she wants. Lady Macbeth sees herself as a controlling figure; as she has Macbeth wrapped round her little finger. She also believes that she has the power to do evil, the audience can see that this is not true as they see her praying to the evil spirits foe evil qualities. I feel that at the beginning of the play Shakespeare has encouraged the audience to identify Lady Macbeth with a devil. This is done when we hear Lady Macbeth say a dark prayer to the evil sprits and the devils.
She is praying for her conscience to be taken away so she can kill the king. For Lady Macbeth to say this prayer shows that she is not completely evil: “Come you spirits That tends on mortal thoughts” Lady Macbeth is asking the evil spirits to enter her mind and block her conscience so she will not have to live with the guilt of what she has done. If she were a devil then she would not have to ask evil spirits to take her over. Lady Macbeth is portrayed as a manipulative person; she knows how to use emotional blackmail, and to attack Macbeth’s pride to get what she wants: And live a coward in thine own esteem” Even when Macbeth says no to the murder of King Duncan she still knows what to do to get her way.
She knows how much being a man, and being portrayed as a hero means to Macbeth, and she use this against him. She does this by telling Macbeth, that she would do it. Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth will give in and commit the murder, as in those days women were seen an weak, so when she tells him that she could do a man’s job, he feel weak and therefore feels he has to do it: “I would while its smiling face
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gum, And dash the brains out Had I sworn as you, have done to this” Lady Macbeth tell Macbeth that she would smash an innocent babies skull while it is feeding; if she makes a promise then she would keep it. I think that this is a lie, and she is just saying this to manipulate Macbeth. When the audience hear this and think how can a mother do this to their child. The audience look at her in disgust, and see this as an act of evil. The audience cannot identify with her and she is hated for turning the hero of Scotland into a murderer.
I do not feel that Shakespeare has portrayed Lady Macbeth as a devil as she has to pray to the evil spirits to take her over, though she has some evil features to her personality, which encourages the audience to identify her with evil sprits. Shakespeare has shown Lady Macbeth to be all talk and no action. She is the one who comes up with the plan to kill King Duncan. She tells Macbeth that she will be the one to commit the crime, but when it comes down to it she persuades Macbeth to do it, this is done by using emotional blackmail.
This shows that Lady Macbeth is very twisted and only after one thing, power. This is like a devil as devils are pure evil. On the night of King Duncan’s murder Lady Macbeth is worried and anxious. She is very jumpy like Macbeth, as the hoot of an owl makes her jump. Lady Macbeth could not carry out the murder herself, as King Duncan looked too much like her father. This is contradicting what she said before about smashing her baby’s skull, as she cannot kill a man who looks like her father but she can kill her baby while it is feeding. This shows that she is not as hard or as cold as she makes out to be.
It is as if she is just putting on an act, and she is only evil on the surface whereas inside she is caring. This is like the piece of advice she gave to Macbeth: “Look like th’ innocent flower, But be the serpent under’t” It is as if she is the innocent flower trying to be evil and the serpent is her goodness and kindness. This is not like a devil as a devil is pure evil all over. Lady Macbeth is always giving Macbeth words of wisdom, when it seems that she should be the one listening to her own advice: “A little water cleans us of this deed”
Here she is telling Macbeth to go and wash his hands as they have King Duncan’s blood on them. Macbeth thinks that Lady Macbeth means that the water wash away the memories. Macbeth questions himself how can water wash away such a deed. When Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking, she remembers when she told Macbeth to wash his hands, she is trying to wash her own hands but she cannot. This means that she cannot get rid of her guilt: “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand” This is not like a devil, as a devil does not feel guilty, as they do not have a conscience and they never regret the actions they take.
Lady Macbeth feels as if she is in hell. She is in psychological hell, as she has to live with what she did, she is not able to hide, it is as if she has no inner peace, as she cannot even rest when she is sleeping. Here Lady Macbeth is portrayed to the audience as a devil as she is in hell, but the audience also sympathise with her, as she has no one to turn to. Lady Macbeth asked for her conscience to be taken away in the dark prayer, this has not happened, as her conscience is still present. This is not like a devil, as a devil has no regrets in what it does.
A devil does not have a conscience so a devil would not need to say a dark prayer. This shows that Lady Macbeth is not like a devil. In fact, it shows that she is rather weak. Lady Macbeth finds herself very isolated, as she has no one to talk too. She feels that she cannot talk to her husband Macbeth as he has enough to deal with and she feels that she has to be strong for him so she therefore feel that she cannot burden him with her problems. Keeping all of her problems locked up drives her insane; it is as if the problems are eating her up inside. The audience see Lady Macbeth sleepwalking.
She is reliving the night of King Duncan’s murder in her mind. She regrets the actions she took. She starts to talk in rhyme: “The thane of fife had a wife” This is like the witches, as the witches are always talking in rhyme. Lady Macbeth starts to hallucinate just like Macbeth: “Washing her hands of this deed” She is trying to wash the blood off her hands. In the end, it all gets too much for her to handle so she commits suicide. In the play, Lady Macbeth suggested that she dose not have a conscience and Macbeth has, as he is too full of the milk of human kindness.
In the end of the play, it is Lady Macbeth who is affected by her conscience and Macbeth conscience does not really bother him in the end. This is like “fair is foul, foul is fair” In the play, I do not feel that Shakespeare has encouraged the audience to think of Lady Macbeth as a devil at the end of the play, in fact she is portrayed as weak. However, there are some elements to her personality, which closely link her to the witches. In the play the audience have gone from hating her to feeling sorry for her as she has no one to turn to in the end, although they do feel that she has bought it all on herself.