An Analysis of Macbeth

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In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the protagonist, Macbeth, murders the king of Scotland and eventually murders several other people. In the end, Macbeth meets his tragic fate of being killed by the nobleman Macduff. Throughout the play, Macbeth makes decisions that affect his fate, but other characters manipulate his choices and his actions. Early in the play Macbeth, Macbeth has control over his actions, but due to the influence of other characters and his subsequent insanity, by the end of the play, Macbeth has no control over his fate. In the first scene, Macbeth is unaffected by magic and has the ability to make good decisions. When the witches encounter him and predict that he will be king, Macbeth has a choice to believe the witches or to ignore them (Shakespeare 1.2). Macbeth later acts on the witches’ predictions that he interprets as the truth. Macbeth also has the choice of listening to his wife, Lady Macbeth, and her insistence that he murder Duncan. Macbeth has the opportunity to recognize the evilness and greediness inherent in her persuasions, but instead he goes along with her plan. Macbeth has control over every physical action he does; no one murders Duncan for him, and no one else in the play hires murderers to kill innocent people. Ultimately, all of Macbeth’s actions are up to him and are controlled only by him, though those actions are greatly influenced. The witches play a highly influential role in Macbeth, and their appearance in Macbeth’s life is uncontrollable. Although Macbeth chooses to believe the witches, they have a plan to destroy Macbeth that is out of Macbeth’s hands. He also cannot help that the witches are evil in nature, as evidenced by a conversation between the witches: “I will dra... ... middle of paper ... ... that no matter what he does, the future will be favorable for him. Macbeth maintains basic control over his actions at every point in the play, and no one ever forces him to murder other characters. His power over his fate, however, decreases as time passes; Lady Macbeth’s influences and the witches’ predictions manipulate Macbeth’s ability to resist murder, and Macbeth’s insanity due to guilt affects his choices to kill. By Act Four, when the apparitions seem to guarantee Macbeth his safety, he loses all power he has because he acts according to his supposed future, and not based on the problems he must face in the present. Ultimately, Macbeth loses all control of his fate when he lets predictions and warnings from the witches influence the limitations of his behavior and when he stops trying to change his predicaments in the present while he has the chance.

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