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The Free Will Of Macbeth Essay

816 words - 3 pages

The Free Will of Macbeth

   Destiny "Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." (William Jennings Bryan) Are we in control of our own destiny, our own fate, or are our lives really already planned and mapped out for us? Does Macbeth willfully choose evil in order to achieve his "destiny"? Or, is his "destiny" doomed by the witches' prophecies? Macbeth may not have made any of his same choices, if the three Weird sisters hadn't come to him. In Shakespeare's play Macbeth, Macbeth is no pawn of fate. Although Macbeth was destined to become king, the path he chose to take to achieve his aspiration of obtaining the throne was of his own free will. Macbeth knew exactly what he was doing in order to attain his destiny of becoming king. Although Macbeth was skeptical about the witches' predictions he later learned as the play progressed that destiny truly determined his future.


The prophecy of the witches was that Macbeth would become king. Nowhere did the witches predict the following events in Macbeth's life before he reached the throne. The prophecy of Macbeth becoming Thane of Cawdor had already come true, enhancing Macbeth's aspirations of becoming king. The second prophecy would certainly come true for him, but he has to choose how to get there. Macbeth was destined for the throne, however obtaining that destiny was completely up to him. Killing Duncan seemed to be the only way for him, even though he knew it was wrong. Macbeth was well-aware his actions were immoral and unjust, and he continued with the murders anyway. He contemplates the reasons for why it would be wrong to kill Duncan, showing he could have just as easily chosen not to kill the King of Scotland. "This even-handed justice commends th'ingredience of our poisoned chalice to our own lips. He's here in double trust: first as I his kinsman and his subject, strong both against the deed; then as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself (39)...We will proceed no further in this business"(41). Yet, Macbeth's desire to become king overrides his feelings...

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