Macbeth: Fate vs Free Will

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Fate vs Free Will is one of the most oft used literary techniques in writing. It is never more evident than in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. The major theme of the story Macbeth is whether or not the story is fueled by the free will of Macbeth, or by his fate. Are the events in Macbeth a result of his mentality and outlook on life, or were they going to happen no matter what? Almost every major event that takes place can be traced back to this question. It can be viewed in different ways, and most people have their own opinions. Dissecting this question is a part of what makes teaching Macbeth still have so much value to this day. But there is a clear answer to this question upon further dissection. The story of Macbeth is fueled by his free will, which he perceives to be a necessary part of achieving his fate. There are many different outlooks on this question. Some view it as a story of fate, and some see it as a story of free will. This is seen in two different movie adaptations of Macbeth, the Polanski adaptation and the Wells adaptation. Polanski’s version focuses more on the natural world, and the decisions that Macbeth makes. He shows the characters’ psychological positions, and why it makes them do the things that they do. Welles’ is more surrealistic, and shows the characters as only being pawns in a fate that they have no control over. (Harper). Movie adaptations provide an interesting insight into how different people view the original text of the play. It is obvious that Macbeth is constantly enacting his free will on his life. His fate does not entirely dictate what transpires in his life. Macbeth would never have become King, killed Banquo, descended to madness, and be killed, without choosing to commit the actions ... ... middle of paper ... ...ueled by the debate of Fate vs. Free Will. It is unclear at first whether the events that take place, occur because they are supposed to, or because Macbeth makes them. Through further investigation it becomes clear that Macbeth is corrupting his own idea of fate, by using his free will. He thinks that his fate is something he is able to control, and continually takes steps to ensure that. While he may think what happens to him is fate, it is not. He completely takes his life into his own hands, and makes it his own. He hears what the sisters have to say, and makes his own judgments accordingly. Macbeth is a character that hears a profound destiny for himself, but shapes it in his own way. Works Cited Harper, Wendy. "Polanski vs. Welles on Macbeth CHARACTER OR FATE?." Literature Film Quarterly . 14.4 (1986): n. page. Print. Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Print.

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