Macbeth Fate Vs Free Will Analysis

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When it comes to literature, people will often analyse a character 's fate. More specifically, whether said fate was determined by destiny or free will. In Shakespeare’s tragic play Macbeth, scholars will often debate whether Macbeth himself has his fate sealed by his destiny or by his own free will. Although his fate may be predetermined, Macbeth uses his own free will to decide how he will fulfill his own destiny. Macbeth determines his own fate through the murder of King Duncan, the murder of Banquo and the slaughter of Macduff’s subjects.

To begin, Macbeth demonstrates his free will with the murder of King Duncan. During his first encounter with the Weird Sisters, Macbeth receives a prophecy. “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!”
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After the witches reveal to Macbeth that no person born of a woman can harm him, he says, “Then live, Macduff, what need I fear of thee?/But yet I’ll make assurance double sure/And take a bond of fate.” (IV.I.93-95) Macbeth realises there is no reason to fear Macduff. However, Macbeth decides he will kill Macduff anyways to ensure he does not cause problems. Macbeth is one again demonstrating free will. He does not need to kill Macduff. In fact, it has been guaranteed to him that Macduff cannot harm him. The fact that Macbeth does not fear Macduff yet still chooses to kill him proves that Macbeth is acting on his own free will. After being informed that Macduff has fled to England, Macbeth decides to attack Macduff’s castle at Fife and slaughter the inhabitants. “The castle of Macduff I will surprise,/Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword/His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls/That trace him in his line.” (IV.I.171-74) This shows Macbeth’s free will, as none of the inhabitants need to be killed. Macbeth’s original plan was to kill Macduff, as Macbeth was warned of him by the apparition. None of the inhabitants posed any danger to Macbeth and their death was certainly not foretold in any prophecy or apparition. This is the ultimate demonstration of how Macbeth is acting on free will and not being forced to commit any …show more content…
To conclude, it is Macbeth who ultimately sealed his own fate. There will always be debate whether or not a person truly controls his own destiny, or whether life has already been pre-determined. One must question whether Macbeth had been overthrown if he had not had been such a tyrannical ruler. It is his actions that push others to rebel against his rule, not some predetermined fate. In the words of Jean-Paul Sartre, “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he

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