Essay On Fate And Free Will In Macbeth

769 Words4 Pages
Zach Augenstein
Ms. Owen
English 2
1-31-14
Macbeth
Fate and free will, the beliefs that humans are either mere playthings to the universe or are in full control of their destinies. The tragic play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, has the ideas of fate and free will present throughout. The play opens on eleventh century Scotland, where the main character, Macbeth, meets with three witches who tell him that he is fated to become king. Macbeth decides to leave out chance, take matters into his own hands, and kill King Duncan. He soon becomes paranoid and sends orders to kill those he believes are a threat to his power. Although Macbeth was fated to become king, his downfall was caused by his own free will on the account of his choices to put faith in the witches, kill King Duncan, and kill the family of Macduff.
Macbeth’s choice to put his trust in the witches, rather than take heed like Banquo, leads to his own destruction. Macbeth first encounters the three witches after his victory over the Norwegians. When Macbeth passes the three witches on the road, the greet him with, “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!” All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (I,iii,49-51). Macbeth doubts these claims until Ross and Angus soon tell him of his newly acquired title, the Thane of Cawdor. He starts to believe the sisters to be true and that he just might become king. Macbeth jumps to the conclusion that the three sisters are of the supernatural and decides to trust them. He does so despite Banquo’s warning, “ But ’tis strange. And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray ’s in deepest consequence...

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...ff personally seeks out Mabeth so that he may be the one to slay him. On the battlefield, the witches’ prophecy is held true. Young Siward is immediately cut down when he opposes Macbeth. However, when Macduff faces off Macbeth he is able to defeat him with no harm done to himself.
Fate and free will both have a strong rooting in the play Macbeth. The role of fate was to tell Macbeth that he was one day to become king of Scotland. Fate was not the cause of Macbeth’s downfall. The actions made under Macbeth’s free will are the sole reason for his own downfall. Macbeth was afraid that he might not become king, so he took matters into his own hands to be absolutely sure he would attain the throne. He decided to leave out chance and take the throne for himself by killing Duncan. By leaving out chance, Macbeth left out the chance for fate to bring his downfall.

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