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Macbeth: fate or free-will

Uploaded by Admin on Mar 27, 2000

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, there is a question as to whether or not Macbeth is driven by fate or free will. The three weird sisters approach Macbeth with prophecies that will all come true in the end. It would appear that Macbeth is just following destiny at first. However, Macbeth always had a choice throughout the play to choose his own fate. Macbeth journeyed to his murderous doom through his own free choice.

In Act I, the three witches visit Macbeth and Banquo on the heath. The witches make three predictions; Macbeth will be the Thane of Cawdor, he will be King, and Banquo’s sons will be king but not Banquo. Even though the witches did make these prophecies, Macbeth’s fate was not sealed. Later in the same scene, Ross and Angus meet Macbeth. They tell Macbeth that he is now the Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth then reflects on the predictions and says, “Present fears are less than horrible imaginings” (Act I, vii, 139). Macbeth is relating his fear that he may have to do something violent in order to become king but he hopes that it can come about by “chance”. Almost immediately after the witches have visited him, Macbeth begins to take their prophecies as a reality. He is almost trying to fulfill the tempting predictions, now that his mind is lustful for power, instead of remaining loyal to the King.

It is once again apparent that Macbeth does control his own destiny when the witches make their second appearance to him. They show Macbeth three apparitions. These tell Macbeth that he will be king until Birnam Woods meet Dunsinane Hill, he cannot be killed by anyone born of woman, and he sees Banquo’s descendants that will become kings. At this point in the novel Macbeth is using the witches as a guideline to his life. The apparition that he cannot be harmed by anyone born of woman creates a false sense of security within himself. Even at this point, Macbeth still has a choice of whether or not to believe the witches. The weird sisters have not put any spell on him; they have just filled his greedy mind with a sense of security and power for kingship.

From the beginning, Macbeth chose to follow the witches instead of letting things just naturally occur. Banquo serves to show how the predictions were not just destiny and did not control...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   03/27/2000

Category:   Macbeth

Length:   3 pages (570 words)

Views:   2115

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