Macbeth wants nothing more than to be king of Scotland. His desire for power comes with how he is exactly going to obtain it. Was it fate that controlled him or his own free will? Free will is an independent decision while fate is the initiation of events happening in someone’s life beyond there control. Macbeth was never a victim of fate as he was responsible and in control of his actions. Macbeth was aware of his fate but he felt as if only his actions could bring it about. He was under the influence of others as well as judged by others but overall he, himself was fully responsible for his actions. In the play, the witches made their predictions, “All hail, Macbeth, Hail to thee. Thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee. Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” This is one example of fate. Macbeth and Banquo heard these predictions for the first time, it gives him the idea of his fate. The witches prophesied his fate but he was never told how to obtain it.
Macbeth, in the beginning, realizes he cannot leave his fate to chance. “The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step on which I must fall down, or else overleap, For in my way it lies, stars, hide your fires! Let not see my black and deep desires” Macbeth realizes that Malcolm is Prince of Cumberland, he accepts the fact that his fate will bring him nothing, but it’s his actions that will “overreach” the restriction to ”his” throne. Macbeth is manipulating fate by saying if fate wants him to become king then fate will make it happen but after hearing the news of Malcolm becoming king he is more determined to claim “his throne” by murdering him. His decisions to catch the nearest way to the completion of the witches’ prophecies are all made on his own fate which will eventually lead to his downfall, which leads to him expressing his “black and deep desires”.
The deliberation behind Macbeth’s first murder is such as to displace any doubt over his ability to take his own actions. His “black and deep desires” leads him to his first murder. To him, only his actions will make him become king. “ Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem to have the crowned withal” Lady Macbeth, after receiving Macbeth’s letter states that fate itself doesn’t make things just happen, like him becoming king, but only their actions will take him to the throne. That action is then murder.
After they both plan to murder Duncan, Macbeth’s conscience kicks in and starts reconsidering their decision. But Lady Macbeth gets into his head and goes through with the plan. This goes to show he made a poor decision, proving he is not a victim of fate. Later on, he remembers the witches’ prophecies that “Banquo’s children have will one day be king” So he again challenges fate, knowing all the previous prophecies had come to pass, he does anything to prevent this from going through by murdering Banquo. This goes again to show that Macbeth’s actions can cause or change his fate. “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff, Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough” Hearing the witches prophecies once again, he takes in “beware Macduff” and knows he has to take action by trying to kill him but fails and kills his entire family.
Opposing views might think because the witches prophesied what was destined to be that they have that power in the play. Their prediction that “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” and that the idea that Birnam Wood will become Dunsiname might have a part in which it is believed the Hags were responsible for Macbeth’s actions since they both come true and were both events that were not based on the manipulation of Macbeth’s ambition. The witches do play a huge part in the play because they create a storyline with their prophecies. When Macbeth hears these prophecies he feels the need to attain them. They do go to show his fate and future, but ultimately it is his decision to go through with these deeds of murder. The witches gave him all these ideas and outcomes but it was all up to him to carry it out.
In conclusion, Macbeth was never a victim of fate. He made his own decisions which ultimately were wrong, and he is completely responsible for that. He knows the prophecies that beheld him but instead of letting fate take its course he let his pride and selfishness take the best of him and ended up getting betrayed and killed.
“Choice not chance determines destiny”.
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