Fate And Free Will In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.” In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Macbeth is a middle-aged man who wants nothing more than to be the king of Scotland. With this yearning for power comes the problem of how to obtain it. Was it fate that controlled Macbeth or his own free will? Free will is a free and independent choice while fate is the development of events beyond a person’s control. Macbeth is not a helpless victim of fate, he was in control of all of his actions and decisions. He is prophesied his fate by the witches, but he is not told how to accomplish it. Although influenced by the witches, Macbeth decided that he would take control of his own fate to achieve his desired goal. The witches foresee Macbeth’s future and recount his predetermined destiny to him, which then leads him to decide whether he should take action or let fate take over. “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, …show more content…
“I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise? (2.2.18)” No one forced the murder in Macbeth’s hands, this was all done out of choice and the itch for power. When recounting the fate of Macbeth, the witches also foresaw the rise of Banquo’s son as king. Threatened by this, Macbeth concluded that he must murder Banquo and his son. “to make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings! Rather than so, come fate into the list. And champion me to the utterance! (3.1.73-75)” Unsuccessful in killing Banquo’s son, Macbeth grew paranoid of being de-throned and continued to do everything in his power to keep his crown. When Macduff was absent from the inauguration of Macbeth, he grew suspicious of him and decided to make a prominent point in killing his family. “He has kill’d me, mother: Run away, I pray you! (4.2.86-87)”. All these murders to secure his crown, little did he know it would all lead to his

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