Macbeth: By Fate Or Choice? Essay

916 words - 4 pages

"Macbeth", the play by William Shakespeare, features the protagonist Macbeth of whom transforms from a noble general in the Scottish army into a tyrant. It is through Macbeth’s own actions that he becomes a tyrant, however one would wonder if he is responsible for his own destiny or if he is ruled by fate. The three weird sisters initiate his desire to become king and his realization of the actions that would need to be taken for this to occur. It is because of Lady Macbeth’s ambition to become royalty and her insistence that he kill King Duncan that Macbeth physically carries out the deed. However it is Macbeth himself who is responsible for his actions and evidently his own fate.

Macbeth’s superstitious beliefs lead him to trustthat the witches’ prophecies were true. His confidence in their prophecies is the initial catalyst in his demise. The weird sisters prophesied for Macbeth Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King of Scotland. After the first two prophecies came true, it was Macbeth himself who mentioned taking action in order to fulfill the third prophecy. His best friend Banquo knew that “oftentimes, to win us to our harm,/ The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/ Win us with honest trifles, to betray us/ In deepest consequence.”(I, iii, 132-135) However Macbeth was not as intelligent. Rather he temporarily convinced himself that “if chance will have [him] king, why, chance/ may crown [him],/ Without [his] stir”(I, iii, 154-156) implying that he believed every word that came out of their mouths. Despite his attempt to not play with fate, he couldn’t seem to control his ambition for power. Moreover, when the witches foreshadowed Macbeth’s future, at no point did they indicate that what they said were truths. Consequently, it was Macbeth who chose to render the final prophecy true. The fulfillment of the final prophecy was only the foundation of Macbeth’s descent into tyranny. As it was Macbeth’s own decision to believe the witches, it was Macbeth’s own decision to take action.

Lady Macbeth may have been essential in the decision to commit the initial murder that commenced the long line of murders; nevertheless it was Macbeth himself that decided to murder the king and continue to murder anyone in way of his goal. In the beginning Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth “is too full o’ the milk of human kindness/ to catch the nearest way” (I, v, 16-17) and makes great attempts at convincing him to assassinate his king. However not long after, it is Macbeth who kills the king and then continues to kill people in order to avoid others from discovering the identity of the true murderer....

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