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Donovan Dicks

2/22/13
English Pd. 6
Free Will or Fate?
Was Macbeth’s fate a result of his own actions, or just the course of fate? Macbeth, the
tragic play written by William Shakespeare, depicts the dark life of Macbeth. After hearing
predictions from three witches, Macbeth starts on a quest to fulfill his “destiny” and rise to
power through murder and treason. His so called success does not last long; his treachery is
discovered and he is brought down. This fate, his death, is of his own free will.
When Macbeth first encountered the witches, they told him of his rise to power, hailing
him as the things he shall become. They say to him, “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of
Glamis/All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor/All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king
hereafter!” (1.3.51-53). Macbeth already was Thane, a high level noble, in Glamis. The witches
predicted he would be promoted to Thane of Cawdor, and become king after. They were the
starting forces; the witches planted the ideas that would grow in his mind and consume him.
They made Macbeth question the possibilities. One prediction was already true, and the second
came true shortly after, so he began to think the rest would follow. His wife saw what was
happening, thought the same as her husband, and took the opportunity. Macbeth himself was too
unsure to take the action that would put him on the throne: murder. He was still debating whether
it was right, but his wife had already decided. So, she bullied him into it. If Macbeth had a
stronger will, he could have resisted her. He knew murder was wrong, and especially when the
victim is his king who also previously promoted him. He could have stopped it all, and changed
the course of his life. Instead, he gave in to his wife and thus started his dark future. This single
murder would change his state of mind, and after his later decisions. His next murderous deed
requires him to betray his friend, Banquo, who is to be father to a line of kings after Macbeth.

70). and Macbeth’s fears are settled for the time. is Macbeth’s decision and his alone. There was pure pressure from other sources. every action he took was his choice. The only solution was to kill Banquo and his son to prevent losing the throne. but peer pressure put him down and later greed took him over. though thou be none” (1. when the murderers arrive. The witches were only responsible for the suggestion of rising to power. His actions brought him the royalty and power the witches had seen. There were multiple chances where Macbeth could have changed his fate had he decided to do so. but his son escapes. Fueled by greed. Macduff is out. he hires murderers to kill Banquo and his son. his treason plagued him with guilt and greed. This can’t be. and did not push Macbeth into taking action. This. Macbeth made many bad decisions and they all led to his death. he could have stayed in his position and lived a happy life. without telling anyone. All of this was a result of Macbeth’s own free will. and fear.3. Some might say Macbeth’s outcome was the inevitable course of fate. seeing how the only event that did not occur from his own doing was the encounter with the witches. . and Macbeth lives on with fears and doubts. since he heard the witches predict it. Banquo is killed. In reality. It was all of his own doing. his curiosity. Instead. after seeing the witches for the first time. His family is killed. later turned to guilt. overcame him and led him to destroy his life and end in his demise. that no matter what he did. so he wanted to protect his position. however. he still would have died in the end. saying to Banquo “Thou shalt get kings. however he could have easily held his ground and avoided committing the murders. attempting to get forces to retake the throne. greed. He again makes another decision own his own to have the lord Macduff and his family killed. After usurping the throne. but they also brought the outrage of his people.Macbeth is aware of this. His ending was from his own choices. and not a predestined fate.

all of his own doing.Eventually. and ended his life. . people took action against the treasonous Macbeth.

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