Shakespeare's Macbeth - Equivocation and Free Choice Essay

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Macbeth: Equivocation and Free Choice

In The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shakespeare's witches give voice to Macbeth's destiny. However, the unfolding action demonstrates not the inevitability of fate, but Macbeth's own role in what takes place. Through the use of opposing images, Shakespeare develops the conflict between fate and man's choice. The continual conflict prepares the reader for the effects this has on the mind and destiny of man.

The blending of right and wrong, good and evil, and a general equivocal position begins with the ominous appearance of the witches in Act I, Scene 1 of the play. For Shakespeare they serve the role of the Greek gods in ancient tragedy. With their comments "the battle's lost
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We again encounter double meanings when Angus speaking of the first thane of Cawdor says "But treasons capital, confess'd and prov'd / Have overthrown him." (I.iii.115-116) Examples like these pervade the play thoroughly enhancing the double meaning to be found almost everywhere.

Macbeth's first appearance in the play finds him repeating the witch's words from the opening scene: "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." (I.iii.38) After the witches first encounter with him and Banquo, Macbeth says in an aside, "If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me / Without my stir." (I.iii.143-144) At this moment Macbeth demonstrates a belief in the controlling force of fate. He indicates that if this is truly meant to be it will happen without help from him. However, he almost immediately turns around and begins to take matters into his own hands as he communicates with his wife and begins to plot the murder of Duncan. He has begun to equivocate claiming fate will make it happen while still taking matters into his own hands demonstrating a lack of faith in the fate he believes gives him grounds for his claim

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