Macbeth: Fate vs. Free Will Essay

1718 Words Jan 14th, 2013 7 Pages
Fate vs. Free Will
11th of January 2013
Throughout the ages, it has been believed that fate has the power to forge one’s destiny. By some uncontrollable force, the outcome of a person’s choices is controlled by the way in which they are destined to occur. On the other hand though, some believe these choices can defy fate and that fate only manipulates one's mind into choosing their own path. One question that seemed to pop into my head through out this play was whether individuals were victims of fate or their I own choices, or if each aspect plays a significant part in determining their destiny. In the play Macbeth, William Shakespeare plays around with the idea of fate, placing the destiny of Macbeth before him, yet allowing his own
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“The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step on which I must fall down, or else o'er leap, for in my way it lies. Stars hide your fires; let not lights see my black and deep desires: the eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. (Act 1. Scene iv. Line 4)” Back at the previous quote I had quoted, Macbeth seemed happy to sit back and let his fate unfold. But, once he learnt that King Duncan had named Malcolm the Prince of Cumberland and heir to the crown of Scotland, Macbeth decides that he must take action or, "overleap" what now appears to block his path to the throne. He acknowledges that his "desires" are "black and deep" so it's obvious that he's decided to commit murder in order to make the witches' prophesy come true.
Now let’s take a step back and think: Was Macbeth’s downfall caused by fate or free will? One way of looking at this argument could be by saying: in the play, the outer forces could have controlled Macbeth. After all, the three witches prophesized that Macbeth would become king. (1.3.4) They also knew the exact circumstances of Macbeth's downfall (4.1.8), which could suggest that Macbeth had no control over his own fate. But on the other hand, in the play we clearly saw Macbeth planning the murders, and then make his own choices and put his plans into action. And this is of course; his own free will. He decides it. I for one believe that it was hiss free will the whole

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