Identity In Macbeth

Great Essays
In today’s world, everything varies depending upon perspective. How one person perceives events in life can largely differ from another person’s perspective. On a similar note, fate is witnessed differently varying upon perspective. However, many believe that our fate is controlled by a supernatural force. But in Shakespeare’s “Tragedy of Macbeth,” the titled character controls his own fate, which determines his identity throughout the play. In the beginning, Macbeth meets three witches who tell him that his prophecy is that he will be crowned king. Later on, Macbeth writes a letter to his wife telling her about the witches’ prophecy, and she convinces him to murder the current king Duncan. After Macbeth is put under the spell of Lady Macbeth …show more content…
For instance, when the witches revealed the prophecy to Macbeth, he took his fate into his own hands by murdering king Duncan. While it can be argued that the witches caused Macbeth to commit the murder and are therefore the root of his chaos, in the end Macbeth is the one truly at fault because he is the only root of his chaos, not the witches. He made the decision to kill Duncan, he picked up the dagger, and he alone stabbed him in his sleep. Significantly, this murder changed Macbeth’s identity because all of his actions went downhill from here. After killing Duncan, Macbeth says, “But I could not pronounce ‘Amen’// I had most need of the blessing, and ‘Amen’// Stuck in my throat” (Act 2, Scene 2, page 56). Evidently, murdering Duncan caused chaos in his world because Macbeth lost not only his mental stability, but his masculinity and religion too. An irremovable stain was placed on his innocence after the murder. Because Macbeth is a good man at heart, he feels extremely guilty. As a result, Macbeth says, “Prithee, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you? Why, what I care? If thou canst nod, speak too” (Act 3, scene 4, page 112). To punish himself, he begins to see the ghost of Banquo. Because seeing a ghost was considered as a supernatural event, one could think that Macbeth is going crazy from the chaos he caused himself. By …show more content…
As such, the witch’s apparitions made Macbeth egotistical towards the end of the play. They influenced Macbeth to take action and follow the prophecy, even if it was false. Macbeth becomes so gulliable that he actually starts to believe that everything the witches say is true. For example, when the messenger tells Macbeth, “As I did stand my watch upon the hill// I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought// The wood began to move” but Macbeth responds with “Liar and Slave!” (Act 5, Scene 5, page 202). As such, when he sees the trees moving from Burnham Woods, he does not believe it because he specifically remembers that the third apparition told him to be proud and care no more, and that he should not worry until “Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill // Shall come against him.” (Act 4, scene 1, page 138). As a result, Macbeth does not listen to his messenger because he thinks he should never care anymore, since it seems impossible for the forest roots to be physically pulled out of the Earth and move. Evidently, this builds chaos for Macbeth because he starts to stop listening to everyone else and starts to only listen to the witches and their prophecy. His reliance on them only allows more chaos to enter his future. Even though the messenger knows that Birnam Woods is moving, Macbeth does not believe

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Theme Of Masks In Macbeth

    • 1259 Words
    • 6 Pages

    The witches are working for the dark side, and Banquo even warns Macbeth that these creatures are not to be trusted, “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’s/ In deepest consequence” (I. iii. 122-126). The witches speak in double- talk to deceive people, and they are shown to be untrustworthy. When the witches greet Macbeth in Act I, they hail him as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King hereafter. However, when Macbeth asks them to explain further, they vanish. When Macbeth returns to the witches to ask for advice on the future, the witches conjure up apparitions that will boost up a false confidence, which will lead to his demise. The apparitions symbol people that will bring Macbeth down, but the apparitions speak in vague terms that Macbeth uses as a sign of victory for him. The first apparition tells Macbeth to beware Macduff. Although, the second apparition tells him that no man born of woman will hurt him. Macbeth thinks that he is invincible since every man is born of woman. The third apparition says he will only be defeated when Great Birnam Wood rises to Dunsinane Hill. Macbeth takes this message as impossible to happen because trees cannot uproot and walk. However when Macbeth realizes that the witches were wearing a mask all along, it is too late, and he meets his end with Macduff’s…

    • 1259 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Are humans but the playthings of a higher power, walking blindly along a predetermined path? Or are humans completely in control of their life, and use fate as an excuse to justify their misdeeds? The main character in Shakespeare’s Macbeth brings these questions to the forefront, and it must be decided whether his heinous crimes were the result of a prophecy or if he was merely using the prophecy as an excuse to carry out his heart’s darkest desires. Free will can be defined as the presence of a choice, full knowledge of the consequences, and the lack of external constraint. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Macbeth’s internal conflict and his freedom to carry out his actions proves that Macbeth acts of his own free will and is therefore solely responsible for the crimes he has committed.…

    • 1213 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Who Is Lady Macbeth Evil

    • 1062 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Once Duncan is killed Lady Macbeth became filled with regret and guilt while Macbeth no longer thought about what he as doing before doing it. In Lady Macbeth 's state of mental insanity she exclaims, "Out, damned spot! Out I say!--One, two. Why then, 'this time to do it. Hell is murky...who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him" (Act 5, Scene 1, Lns. 25-26 and 29-30). This shows that her guilt consumed her causing her to not be able to get the horrid picture of the crime she had helped commit and plan out of her head. On the other hand, Macbeth 's lack of sanity made him act without thinking, ultimately making him more evil. Unlike Lady Macbeth, Macbeth 's insane actions involved other people not just himself. After seeing Banquo 's ghost at the banquet Macbeth states that, "My strange and self abuse is the initiate fear that wants hard use. We are yet but young in deed" (Act 3, Scene 4, Lns. 148-150). In this quote Macbeth said that his delusions come from inexperience in crime and that he is only a beginner. This statement shows that Macbeth knew that he wasn 't finished killing. As his lack of sanity went down, he felt he needed to kill more people. Macbeth started to believe and see things that weren 't true or even real. For example, Macbeth killed Banquo because he feared he knew what he had done and was going to turn on him. The fact that he didn 't have a legitimate reason to kill Banquo shows his lack of sanity and pure evilness. Macbeth took his insanity and continued killing while Lady Macbeth only killed herself and no one…

    • 1062 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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.…

    • 811 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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.…

    • 1165 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The three malicious all-knowing witches use their information to make Macbeth go crazy. This idea has overpowered his conscious thoughts, which leads him to do bad things and make bad decisions. After murdering Duncan, Macbeth loses all sanity he had left making him a very easy and defenceless target for the witches. By telling Macbeth his prophecies about being king, he became very greedy and power hungry influencing his actions and thoughts. Although Macbeth was not physically manipulated, the witches used his desire and acquisitive ways to influence his actions heavily.…

    • 91 Words
    • 1 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Macbeth, the theme of fate and free will is portrayed constantly. Macbeth’s fate is foretold by the three witches, but Macbeth uses his own free will to decide his actions when told his fate. His evil choices led to him making great attempts to alter his fate. Macbeth would’ve never been able to alter his fate if the witches never told him it. But from Macbeth, Shakespeare teaches that fate exists and can be…

    • 697 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare highlights the corrupting power of unchecked ambition. The downfall of Macbeth lies ultimately upon a fatal flaw in himself; ambition. However, fate in the form of the witches and prophecies is partially accountable for his undoing as they impose his evil. Lady Macbeth also plays a role in the annihilation of Macbeth due to her ambition for power. She uses manipulation as a driving force behind Macbeth to influence him to kill Duncan and fulfil her own desires, all contributing to the downfall of Macbeth. Macbeth is greatly influenced by the three witches and Lady Macbeth, however he is primarily responsible for his own undoing.…

    • 949 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Written by William Shakespeare, Macbeth is a play that highlights one common theme: the gradual loss of sanity. Macbeth progressively becomes plagued by intense, consuming guilt as his desire for power drives him to attain his goals by any means necessary, including the act of committing murder. Feeding his hunger for dominance, he murders King Duncan in cold blood in order to become the King of Scotland, has Banquo killed by three murderers to maintain his position as royalty, and finally, he has Macduff’s family slaughtered out of rage and fear. Although all of these occurrences take place because of Macbeth’s eagerness to be King, they all result in him being overtaken by shame and dismay. Realizing that every move that he makes is completed of…

    • 1192 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Quotes On Fate In Macbeth

    • 793 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Have you heard of fate? Do you believe in fate? Well in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, fate plays an important role in Macbeth’s life. Fate is something that unavoidably befalls a person. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth the witches informs Macbeth of his fate that he will become the king in the future. Macbeth believes the witches words and Lady Macbeth persuade him to become the king and murder all the people that get in the way. Shakespeare shows us that fate is complicated by our actions, Macbeth will do anything to meet his fate that in the end lead him to his death because of his greediness.…

    • 793 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Shakespeare once mentioned that “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves” (“William Shakespeare Quotes”). He explains that fate does not control our actions but our own will is what takes jurisdiction of it. Essentially, one’s mental thoughts are what drives one’s behavior. The human psyche is composed of the id, ego, and superego. These three aspects of the human psyche are what controls our actions and determines our personality. Published in 1623, Shakespeare’s play Macbeth illustrates Macbeth as the id, Lady Macbeth as the superego, and Macduff as the ego. Lady Macbeth’s actions in making Macbeth want to murder were led by her superego.…

    • 1506 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The supernatural soliciting of the witches’ is partially, but not fully, to blame for the events in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. While the witches suggest ideas to Macbeth, the events that determine the course of the play are the fault of his actions which are caused by his desires, influences and ignorance. Macbeth perceives the witches’ predictions as a dependable source of information on which to make decisions. This perception combined with his desirous and persuadable character is the reason he acts on the witches’ suggestions. It may be argued that the witches’ first appearance causes all of the events in the play that follow, however they are only a catalyst for these events. Ultimately the downfall of Macbeth is…

    • 1255 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Macbeth’s life offers an insight into how in life, fate is fixed and controls what is to come, but how that fate comes to be is controlled by free will. In Shakespeare’s work, the character of Macbeth shows the power of ambition and the reason for violence in the world. Up to this point in the book, Macbeth, a great Scottish warrior beloved by his country, receives a prophecy from three witches, telling him that he will achieve the title of King. Macbeth was first shocked to hear of his fate, but then he decides to take destiny into his own hands by committing the murder of the present king. One interesting thing about Macbeth’s actions was that some of his actions seem to not be his but influenced by other characters…

    • 1395 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When his wife first informed Macbeth that he was a coward who wouldn’t be able to kill in order to gain power, he was in shock. He was skeptical of the thought of even having to kill Duncan to obtain the power he sought for. “First as I am 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” (Act 1 scene 7 line 13). In this quote Macbeth is looking inside himself for the killer Lady Macbeth called upon. When he can not find it he comes across rational thought as to why he shouldn’t kill King Duncan: He is Duncan’s loyal man as well as allowing him to stay in Macbeth’s house, he should be protecting Duncan’s life not putting it in danger. Once he loses his grip on his realization of his morals he kills Duncan. Once the killing is over Macbeth begins to have haunting thoughts and guilt to the point where he begins to feel crazy. “Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep” (Act 2, sc. ii, line 35). In this quote it can be seen that he is starting to become guilty and imagines voices in his head that prevent him from sleeping. He switches from a rational loyal man to the cold-blooded killer his wife thought herself to be. They essentially switched roles. Had he realized his true self he would not have made such a big mess of things. All it took was separating illusion…

    • 974 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the drama presents a plot where there is a thin, blurred line between fate and free will. Several aspects attribute to the downfall of Macbeth and there are a variety of viewpoints that coincide with each of the possible faults. However, in actuality, Macbeth’s murder and all of its elements predominantly stem from Macbeth’s own choices. The cause of Macbeth’s death is primarily due to his free will to go and seek unknown dangers and commit heinous crimes. In addition, his own willingness to believe in the witches against his better judgement, also significantly impacted his declination. Be that as it may, the idea put into his head by the witches, his wife’s ruthless persuasion, and his already ambitious personality…

    • 1057 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays