Macbeth: Macbeth and Duncan Essays

Submitted By maxhutcheon
Words: 1720
Pages: 7

At the end of the play, Malcolm refers to MacBeth as “this dead butcher”. To what extent is this an accurate description of MacBeth?
In “The Scottish Play”, it may be easy to see why Macbeth can be referred to as a “dead butcher”. In my opinion, it was an accurate description of MacBeth to a rather large extent. However, as the reader, we can see his inner thoughts and this is what makes it quite difficult to label him with such a bad name, as in the beginning, he had so many good qualities and was led away from these by several other influences. These influences had manipulated to become something which we could not have foreseen at the beginning coming from such a noble man. We see this in the beginning when Duncan has just been told of Scotland’s triumph in the battle against MacDonald and Fortune, when MacBeth showed his great qualities and beheading MacDonald for his country. Duncan exclaims with his happiness:
“O valiant cousin, worthy gentlemen!”
This is a very effective quote as it shows dramatic irony, it just shows how highly Duncan thinks of MacBeth, even though we know how he will be betrayed soon.
Though MacBeth had some good qualities, he did do some very horrific things too. When MacBeth ruled as king, he ruled as a tyrant, ruling by fear; many people lived in terror of him and a lot were killed. Maybe if he had ruled in this day and age he could have been stopped a lot quicker. There is a great deal of evidence to show that he was, indeed, a “butcher”, with his many slaughterings and betrayals. At the end of the story, even he acknowledges how he has changed. He was reflecting on life and his own, when he thinks about how instead of royalty giving him a better standard of life, it sort of ruined his:
“That which should accompany old age, as honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but in their stead curses, not loud but deep.”
This is just proving that afterall, he is human and does realise his change from being a hero to being hated. Though, it wasn’t just the end that MacBeth shows his bad parts, if we were to rewind to his first killing which was probably the most significant, his first taste of tyranny, the killing of Duncan. Him and his wife, Lady MacBeth, had teamed for this murder, a rather odd relationship for that day and age, however I will speak of that later, MacBeth may not have done it, if it wasn’t for the outside influences which seem to be the theme for his killings, for example, for this one, the outside influences of the Witches and Lady MacBeth seem to have changed his mind on it. MacBeth had not entirely made up his mind on it, but then a hollutionation appeared, directing him to Duncan’s room (more witchcraft?). He kills the King with a stab to the chest and it’s done, he’s king, no more murders needed... or so he had hoped. He wished that what his lover had said would have been true about the taps washing away the sin:
“A little water clears us of this deed.”
This means that once the blood on their hands is gone, then so too the murder is. Possibly the most surprising of all the killings is the murder of his best friend, Banquo, as MacBeth is the King of Scotland he grows very suspicious of all around him, when his prophesies from the witches had become true with immediate effect, he began to think of Banquo’s about his sons becoming kings. In a quick panic, without consulting anyone, he makes 3 murderers from men by making them hate Banquo like he does. He says that if they do so, he make it worth their while, he also makes them believe that they hate Banquo themselves:
“Both of you know Banquo was your enemy.”
This is effective as it shows a change in the King, his first show that darkness is taking over him with how controlling he is becoming. When Banquo is ambushed by the murderers he manages to put up a fight long enough so that Fleance could escape. When the murderers return to deliver the mixed news, MacBeth becomes fearful again, he almost