"This dead butcher and his fiend-like queen".
How true an assessment is this of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?.
Malcolm said this when he was made King after both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had died. This was Malcolm's opinion of the two as they had brutally murdered his father Duncan. Malcolm could only see an evil woman and a murdering tyrant.
This quotation does not serve to illustrate the complexity of the Macbeths, because their characters are far more subtle and sophisticated than this biased view, formed by someone who has good reason to despise the malevolent characters, who robbed him of his father and denied him of his crown. They are intelligent manipulative and aware.
Macbeth is portrayed and described as an extremely brave, heroic and honourable soldier, defending his King and country in battle. But he is also excessively violent, vicious and bloody as he "unseem"d" his victim Macdonwald "from the nave to th"chops" it may be that Macbeth's level of brutality is not necessary. He becomes unrelentingly blood thirsty in combat as he fights viciously with "his brandish"d steel, which smoked with bloody execution" it may be that he loses his rationality when captured in the energy of battle. He is familiar with killing in person, hand to hand. When ha captain speaks of Macbeth he makes violent references, and reefers to Christ's place of death.
"Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,.
Or memorize another Golgotha,".
It is undeniably so that Macbeth is a butcher, as a butcher is a bloody or cruel murderer. He is thoroughly involved in his thoughts and images of war, he thinks and imagines scenes of murder and considers the consequences of them. The first time we see this is in his soliloquy .
"if th" assassination .
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch.
With his surcease, success: that but this blow.
Might be the be-all, and the end-all".
Again before he murders Duncan his imagination takes over he sees images relating to murder.