Macbeth Dead Butcher Analysis

Superior Essays
The play Macbeth by William Shakespeare illustrates the rise and fall of a once great man known as Macbeth, along with his wife, Lady Macbeth. Macbeth begins as a widely adored and honoured war hero, who slays traitors and protects his country. Tragedy unfolds when he commits the most heinous of crimes; murder. His victim is King Duncan, a right and lawful king who did not deserve the death that befell him. Macbeth then begins his string of murders after his wife, Lady Macbeth, eggs him on. After being persuaded to kill Duncan, a switch in Macbeth’s head is set off, and he becomes a serial murderer, chasing after anyone who wrongs him. He even goes as far as setting two hit men on one of his trusted men, and the man’s young son. The tragedy …show more content…
In Malcolm saying he is a “dead butcher” (5.9.41) he says that not only is Macbeth rightfully deceased at this point in the play, but he also describes him as someone who ruthlessly committed acts of murder throughout the story, earning the title entirely. From the very beginning of the play, Macbeth is killing people. This is evident even before he kills King Duncan, in his killing of the traitor Macdonwald by “[unseaming] him from the nave to the chops” (1.2.18) One could argue that Macbeth killing a rebel would be heroic, but perhaps it was foreshadowing into his new career as a butcher. Before Macbeth actually commences his killing spree, Macbeth speaks of his true ambitions and intentions when he says “let light not see my black and deep desires” (1.4.58) meaning he does not want his evil deeds to be known by those of purer thoughts. Macbeth truly wants to become and remain ruler of Scotland, and through Lady Macbeth’s coercion, it becomes evident that he will do everything in his power to do so. Even before murdering Duncan, Macbeth’s mental stability takes a turn for the worse and he becomes riddled with guilt. “Is this a dagger which I see before me,/ The handle turned toward my hand?” (2.1.41) Macbeth asks, as his guilty conscience conjures up the image of a dagger that would lead him to murder Duncan. Even with a guilty mind, Macbeth still goes on to kill the King of Scotland, proving his role of a butcher. Not only is Macbeth a literal “dead butcher” in the literal sense of the two words, the harsh connotation of the word butcher reflects how badly his killing of the King affects all of Scotland. This is portrayed through pathetic fallacy, where the actions and emotions of humans affect what happens in nature, often times for the worse. This is evident when nature reacts in a way

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