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This Essay Examines The Idea Of Fate In Shakespeare's Play Macbeth, And Attempts To Show That The Characters Acted Of Their Own Free Will, Not Due To The Wishes Of Some Higher Being

835 words - 4 pages

Fate as most people think of it cannot exist. "Fate" suggests that there is one way that a situation is going to unfold, and nothing you can do will change the way it unfolds. Instead, there are always several "fates;" the one that eventually comes about depends on choices you make along the way. Sometime in hindsight it looks like that outcome is the only one that could have happened, or the best one that could have happened, but the truth is that it was only one of several possibilities.Macbeth is usually seen to be a character that was not in control of his destiny. In reality, he was the one who decided how he was going to act, and in the end he sets his own fate. There was no "god" that was responsible. His wife was not and indeed could not have been the responsible entity in his future. The witches, though influential, only showed him one of the several paths he may have possibly taken. Without Macbeth's ...view middle of the document...

The witches, like Macbeth, were not simply pawns. They were fully autonomous beings that made their own choices and in doing so, showed Macbeth one possible future. The knowledge of what may come was voluntarily shared, and they could easily have decided not to divulge this information. Many people believe that the witches were prophesizing the only future. As Banquo states, perhaps the witches give us certain morsels of truth in order to have us believe that all they have to say is truth.But 'tis strange;And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,The instruments of darkness tell us truths,Win us with honest trifles, to betray 'sIn deepest consequence(I.iii.134-138)Macduff wholeheartedly believed that his only possible course of action was to murder Macbeth and avenge the death of Duncan. He was in a position to do whatever he wanted, and have whatever he wanted. He specifically states that if Macbeth were to die without Macduff having any part in it, Macduff would be haunted by the fact that he missed that opportunity. He desires nothing more than a chance to strike at the heart of his most hated enemy, Macbeth.That way the noise is. Tyrant, show thy face!If thou beest slain, and with no stroke of mine,My wife and children's ghosts will haunt me still.I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose armsAre hired to bear their staves. Either thou, Macbeth,Or else my sword with an unbuttered edgeI sheathe again undeeded. There thou shouldst be;By this great clatter, one of greatest noteSeems bruited. Let me find him, Fortune,And more I beg not.(V.vii.19-28)Macduff's campaign against Macbeth had much larger goals in mind. All of these could have been accomplished without the death of Macbeth. Macduff, instead of focusing on the prophesized removal of Macbeth from the throne, wanted to kill Macbeth, and so he did.Ultimately, in Macbeth, Shakespeare shows Macbeth as a character who fulfills his future as predicted by the instruments of fate, the witched. He does indeed act in the manner that has been prophesized, but he does so of his own free will, not because any outside force wishes him to act as he does.

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