Essay On Prophecy In Macbeth

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In various works of fiction, prophecies often give characters insight into what will happen in their future. Generally, characters who receive prophecies always attempt to take advantage of the information given to them in order to avoid the negative consequences in their future. However, in many of the situations where characters attempt to manipulate prophecies, every attempt to alter their future proves to be futile and the prediction becomes reality. The character has no chance of avoiding what is coming to him, whether it be fame and riches, or humiliation and death. William Shakespeare illustrates this negative aspect towards the motif of prophecy in the play Macbeth. Shakespeare integrates the theme of prophecy leading people to their dooms in order to caution audiences of how free will is just a figment of individuals’ overactive minds, and how no matter what one does, one’s predetermined destiny is inevitable. Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare emphasizes his opinion that man lacks the ability to alter the future preordained by higher powers. Macbeth’s failure to prevent Banquo’s descendants from becoming rulers of Scotland, as foretold by the witches’ prophecies, reiterates Shakespeare’s perspective on how no matter what man does, man cannot change how the world will come to be. Macbeth laments about how he murdered Duncan, just to have Banquo’s descendants become the rulers of Scotland for centuries to come when he says, Then, prophetlike, They hailed him father to a line of kings. Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown And put a barren scepter in my grip, Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand, No son of mine succeeding. (Act III, Scene I 64-69) Despite all of Macbeth’s best efforts, Banquo’s descendants in... ... middle of paper ... ... free thinker ahead of his time, Shakespeare challenged this notion to force people to think about their place in the world and what they are meant to do with their life. By increasing the self-awareness of the population, Shakespeare empowered individuals to become better people and improve their lives. The knowledge of where one is in life is important: If one thinks that they have achieved their own expectations and goals in life, there is no need to work or improve. However, as more often is the case, if one was not aware of their place in life and they had not yet accomplished their goals, Shakespeare’s writing would serve as a wake-up call and motivate the public to reform their standing in their community. When people know where they are relative to the world and the people around them, they are more able to do better and gain more perspective on their world.

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