Shakespeare 's Macbeth - Fate And Free Will Essay

Shakespeare 's Macbeth - Fate And Free Will Essay

Length: 1130 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Whether or not the concept of fate is legitimate is regularly debated by many people. Some believe that the events of one’s life are predetermined by a supernatural power, out of human control. Others believe that free will allows us to create our own fate, and that one’s decisions determine how the events of one’s life play out. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, both fate and free will are predominant themes in the play. The ever-present supernatural aspect of the play can create an interesting debate over whether or not Macbeth’s downfall could have played out differently, or even been avoided completely. The witches’ prophecies had an impact on Macbeth’s actions, however, it is ultimately free-will that causes his downfall.
Throughout the play, three witches are the source of multiple prophecies that both intrigue and terrify Macbeth. In the first prophecy, Macbeth learns that he will become Thane of Cawdor. Shortly after, the current Thane dies and Macbeth is his replacement. The witches could have easily known that the Thane of Cawdor was dead before hand, or they could have murdered him themselves, rendering their vision true. Banquo, who was with Macbeth at the time, is feeling left out and asks to know his own fate. The witches fortune states “Lesser than Macbeth, but greater. Not so happy but much happier. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. So all hail Macbeth and Banquo.” (1. 3. 63-66). The witches’ words are very vague, and could be interpreted in millions of different ways. He could be lesser in titles, but greater in morality. He could be lesser because he himself is not king, but greater because of his predicted bloodline of future kings. Based on this, Macbeth could assume that any of these things are what t...

... middle of paper ...

...s own hands by murdering the king. He was not influenced by the witches when he makes the decision to have Macduff’s family murdered. In an attempt to scare Macduff and show that he does not fear the Thane of Fife, Macbeth seals his own fate and ensures his death. Shortly after the death of his children and wife, Macduff returns to Scotland for revenge.
Ultimately, it was Macbeth’s own greed, encouraged by the witches and Lady Macbeth that caused his tragic death. They pushed him to do the morally wrong thing, and he succumbed to their wishes. The three weird sisters may have predicted and lead Macbeth towards a certain path but fate had nothing to do with the decisions that Macbeth made. If Macbeth had not fallen for the witches tricks and riddles, he could have avoided his untimely death and enjoyed the titles that he had, without becoming power-crazy and paranoid.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Destiny, Fate, and Free Will in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- Macbeth: The Role of Fate Fate plays an important role in Shakespeare's Macbeth. The weird sisters use fate to wreak havoc among the Scottish nobility. Also, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth tempt fate. Later in the play, Malcolm, Macduff and the other revolutionaries try to alter fate. Fate can be many things to many different people. If one believes that fate is all-encompassing, then it becomes a perfect excuse for one's deeds. Yet, to Macbeth fate was something far more complex. Macbeth, upon seeing some truth in the witches’ prophecies, chose to believe all that they spoke and yet occasionally felt that he needed to give fate a hand The weird sisters, consider that fate is...   [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]

Strong Essays
973 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Fate vs Free Will in Sophocles´ Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare´s Macbeth

- ... It is the will of the man to realize what is inevitable and what choice is. In the Ancient Greece, Gods were praised and worshiped and any command stated by them is the undecided future. Oedipus acting as a blinded man who did not know of such fact led him to his fate and ironically is what later led him to blind himself (Gould). When Oedipus stabs his eyes out with the golden clips. He does this in response to the events of finally seeing the truth and the suicide of Jocasta. Oedipus was aware that he was responsible for his actions and he made the choice of stabbing his own eyes out....   [tags: ignorance, knowledge, choices]

Strong Essays
1488 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Fate Vs. Free Will

- Does fate determine the outcome of our lives, or do we make our own fate through our actions. William Shakespeare never outright answers this question in his play Macbeth, but the theme of “fate vs. free will” permeates nearly every aspect and situation encountered during Macbeth’s pursuit of the throne. The theme of “fate vs. free will” is evident in three scenes: the captain 's speech concerning Macbeth 's victory against MacDonwal, the dagger monologue, and Banquo 's reflection on fate. In the second scene of act one, the captain is speaking to king Duncan about Macbeth’s victory over MacDonwal’s troops (I.ii.8)....   [tags: Macbeth, Mind, William Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
1435 words (4.1 pages)

Macbeth: Fate vs Free Will Essay

- 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....   [tags: literary analysis, shakespeare]

Strong Essays
1200 words (3.4 pages)

The Place of Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Macbeth Essay

- The Place of Fate in Macbeth   Shakespeare was wont to employ the supernatural force of fate throughout his tragic play Macbeth. Let us examine in this essay what we mean by the above statement. In Everybody's Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack explains that the witches are associated with fate:   Except in one phrase (I.3.6) and in the stage directions, the play always refers to the witches as weyard - or weyward - sisters. Both spellings are variations of weird, which in Shakespeare's time did not mean "freakish," but "fateful" - having to do with the determination of destinies....   [tags: Macbeth essays Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
3026 words (8.6 pages)

Examples Of Fate And Free Will In Macbeth Essay

- Fate or Free Will. Free will is most known as the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate. It is the ability to act at one’s own discretion. What this means is that only a person’s own decisions can impact the outcome of their life; that there is no set destiny. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, free will plays a very substantial and powerful role in the fate of Macbeth. In one of shakespeare's more famous plays, three witches give a prophecy to Macbeth, at the time a soldier serving under King Duncan, that he will one day become King himself....   [tags: Macbeth, Macbeth, Three Witches, Macbeth]

Strong Essays
745 words (2.1 pages)

Theme Of Fate And Fate In Macbeth Essay

- Part of human nature is struggling to choose between two random forces. In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare describes how conflict within a person can drive someone mad until the end of their lives. For Macbeth, part of this struggle was keeping his sanity intact after all the bad deeds he had committed. Another part of his struggle was swaying between the forces of innocence and guilt. The final struggle Macbeth had within him was going up against fate and free will. Throughout the play, Shakespeare demonstrates the inner conflict within Macbeth, as he contends against the conflicts of fate and free will, sanity and insanity, and innocence and guilt....   [tags: Macbeth, Anxiety, Banquo, Free will, Macbeth]

Strong Essays
860 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on The Tragic Heroes Of Shakespeare 's Macbeth

- Shakespeare’s most enthralling characters are his great tragic heroes, who are motivated by forces of darkness internally and externally. The tragic protagonist experiences extreme emotions of both love and hate, leading to extreme actions. These feelings can be considered forces of darkness, which drive their actions to a great extent. An integral aspect of Shakespearean tragedy is the tragic hero’s fall from grace, which is often portrayed as an effect of a malicious fortune or fate. Nevertheless, this is due to a flaw in the character, which also makes them great....   [tags: Macbeth, Tragic hero, William Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
1045 words (3 pages)

Macbeth - How Fate Disappointed Essay

- How Fate Disappointed in Macbeth      How forceful was fate in the venerable Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth. Did it deprive either of the Macbeths of their ability to choose. This essay intends to answer these and other fate-related questions.   In his critical volume, Macbeth: a Guide to the Play, H. R. Coursen explains the concept of Fate within the play:   Macbeth's tragedy is not that he decides to kill Duncan but that he cannot become independent. Even if a weaker agency than God, he would be his own, himself alone....   [tags: Macbeth Destiny Fate Free Will Choice]

Strong Essays
3029 words (8.7 pages)

Essay macbeth - fate or free choice

- Macbeth – Fate or Free Choice. In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Macbeth’s destiny is determined by the choices he makes. The first hint to the reader of Macbeth’s choices comes as a warning from Banquo to Macbeth about believing the witches, or Weird Sisters. Once Macbeth starts to believe the witches, this belief facilitates his decisions to take certain actions. Macbeth’s choice to believe the witches also gives them control over him, which further illustrates how Macbeth’s destiny is fated by his choice to believe them....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
693 words (2 pages)