发表于:2022-08-17 17:38:13 范文

In one of his works, Macbeth, Shakespeare portrays characters who are full of arrogance and an insatiable appetite for power and ambition. As such, these characters, and particularly, Macbeth and his wife Lady Macbeth commit different forms of evil including murder to acquire and protect their power and authority. On the other hand, those whom atrocities have been committed against by Macbeth and his wife seek revenge against them. In the end, Malcolm describes Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as a “dead butcher” and “fiend-like” queen respectively. This is irrespective of the fact that Lady Macbeth has a conscience that haunts her, a factor that drives her crazy and causes her to commit suicide, while Macbeth does not appear to have any remorse regarding his evil actions. With this in mind, there is a need to note that ambition in a person’s life need to be guided by ethics otherwise it could lead to destruction.


To begin with, despite the fact that Macbeth receives a revelation from three witches that he will be honored and would later become the king of Scotland, these witches do not offer an explanation on how he will ascend to the throne. Arguably, Macbeth takes the matter into his own hands and murders King Duncan, the king of Scotland at that particular time. Shakespeare uses foreshadowing to show what will happen in the life of Macbeth (Liamputtong & Rumbold, 2008). Whereas this is the case, the attack and murdering of the king of Scotland by Macbeth creates a path for him to be described as a butcher by Malcolm after his death. From an ethical point of view, Macbeth seems to understand the gravity of the actions he was engaged in and yet he does not rescind his actions but rather continues engaging in bloodshed to achieve and protect his ambitions (Keller, 2005). Notably, the king had not resisted Macbeth in any way. On the contrary, after his victory, King Duncan honored Macbeth by naming him the Thanes of Glamis and Cawdor. Furthermore, King Duncan was going to dine with Macbeth in his own house, a factor that reveals how the king valued Macbeth as his military general. Whereas this is the case, Macbeth dishonors the king and murders him.


One of the ethical questions that emerge in the narrative regards the choices that Macbeth made and how these affected his life, leading to him being termed as a butcher at the end of the narrative. To begin with, was it necessary for Macbeth to murder the king for him to ascend the throne? Arguably, an evaluation of the play reveals that when Macbeth involved himself in bloodshed, he understood that his actions had negative consequences not only on his life and family but also on society as a whole. For example, Macbeth acknowledges that “Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return to plague th’ inventor” (Shakespeare, 1843). In this case, Macbeth understood that the path he had chosen to seek power and satisfy his ambitions was unethical and would have consequences in his life. Furthermore, Macbeth knew that by murdering the king as a way to ascend to the throne would create an uprising in Scotland, leading to further bloodshed. One could argue that it was his wife who convinced and motivated him to murder the king. Whereas this is the case, Shakespeare uses aside as a dramatic technique to show that Macbeth was indeed bend towards seeing the king dead. For example, he notes, “Let not light see my black and deep desires…Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see” (Pye, 2017). Therefore, whereas he gives his wife many reasons why he should murder the king in his soliloguy, his deepest desires was to see King Duncan dead. Importantly, one would expect that such an understanding would deter him from shedding blood of an innocent king. However, this is not the case. On the contrary, he goes ahead with his plans, ignoring all the consequences therewith. Macbeth also murders other people who were perceived as a threat to his accession to power, and even at the near end of his, he was still willing to shed blood. Therefore, Malcolm is absolutely right to describe Macbeth as a “butcher” since he did not hesitate to shed innocent blood during his life.