Fate in Macbeth

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Fate can be defined many different ways. Webster's Dictionary defines fate as a power that supposedly predetermines events. Fate is synonymous to the word destiny, which suggests that events are unavoidable and unchangeable. Whatever happens in life is meant to be and cannot be changed by mankind. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, fate plays an important role in the lives of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Banquo.

"All hail, Macbeth Hail to thee, thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth Hail to thee, thou shall be King hereafter!" (1.3.49) The witches help fate out by giving Macbeth this information. If Macbeth had never known this, he would never have had the idea of becoming thane of Cawdor or king. This is the start to Macbeth's road to success and ultimate demise. It was predetermined by fate that Macbeth would believe the witches' words. When Macbeth does in fact become thane of Cawdor, he then believes fully in the witches and is willing to do anything it takes to become king.

This willingness to do whatever is necessary to become the king of Scotland is also what causes Macbeth to commit so many murders, the first of which is Duncan. In order for Macbeth to be king, the current king must die and his successors must be unavailable for the throne. Fate plays a huge hand in the way that Duncan's murder plays out. Duncan's two sons flee so that they will not be suspected of committing a crime that they did not, the murder of their own father. Because they have fled the country, it is Macbeth that is the one who may become king.

Fate also plays a role in the death of Macbeth. Because the witches were right about Macbeth's life the first time, he believed them a second time, which led to his death. They told him that he should watch out for MacDuff, that he could not be harmed by any man who was born of a woman, and that he would reign until Birnam wood came to Dunsinane hill. This gave Macbeth a false sense of security and made him think that no one could ever harm him. However, the weird sisters' twisted words gave fate the chance to cause Macbeth's ruin when an army concealed by the branches of Birnam wood came to Dunsinane hill to bring Macbeth down.

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