Macbeth: Fate Vs. Freewill

William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth develops the theme of the inescapability of fate througt the prophecies relating to the drama’s main character, the conflict between Macbeth and Banquo, and the apparitions. The first way Shakespeare develops the theme of fate’s inescapability is through the main character, Macbeth. Shakespeare opens the play by showing men struggling to survive in a violent world.

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Macbeth’s actions are described by the messenger: as being “Brave” and “Fearless” once he kills the King of Norway, and the traitor Macdonwald. Macbeth was known for his courage and his heroic actions, yet his fate is far from being sealed. When Macbeth was visited by the Witches his fate was told to him completely changing his mind set, and actions. Macbeth was told by the Witches that the only people possible of taking his throne, are descendants of his friend Banquo. Someone that Macbeth knew and respected, from one prophecy made him fear for his life so instead of investigating he took action. Cutting a man in half and not batting an eye, Obvious signs of not being all together upstairs. Macbeth had a lot of mental issues after doing the actions he did on the battlefield. Killing anyone makes any person go from being sane and calm to being insane and uneasy, knowing that taking the life of the same species, is the biggest sin you may commit.

After killing on the battlefield, Macbeth could easily take a life all he needed was a little “push”. The conflict between Macbeth and the Royalty and the apparitions he began seeing was quite a shove. Proving his fate was only madness, even though he tries to escape it. Hearing that Banquo and his descendants were the only ones possible of taking the throne away from Macbeth , put Macbeth on a kill or be killed mission. Going from best friends to murder intentions is a large and selfish leap. The Witches put an enormous help in the theme of fate. Throughout the entire play the work almost as fortune tellers, telling him continuously what he needs to do to have success, at any cost. Destroying Macbeth’s sanity was the witches ultimate goal, forcing him to do horrible things and blinding him with false comfort and success. Continuously tempting his mind and emotions, visiting him and taunting him. Macbeth fell victim to his own fate. The witches were the Archetypes of Macbeth’s life and destiny. There was plenty that Macbeth could have done in order to evade or avoid his scary false destiny portrayed to him from the witches, but as expected and wished by the witches he fell to blood and riches easily. Macbeth was a puppet while the witches were the puppeteers to his life pulling his strings and forcing him to act, everything they spoke , they spoke into fruition. The apparitions were the final tipping domino of Macbeths consciousness and life. The apparitions that appeared to Macbeth almost gave him an ultimatum to his final destiny and life. Telling him first “Beware Macduff; Beware the Thane of Fife” The first apparition telling this to Macbeth shook him and made his entire motive change , motivating him to murder in order to protect his own skin, deepening him into madness. Murdering women and children in order to protect his throne and his own conqueror intentions, proving his obvious change from an “Innocent brave man” to a murdering psychopath.

The second apparition “None of women born shall harm Macbeth”, this quote proves the point more than most, this statement that no man born of from a woman gives macbeth ultimately a large false hope of immortality , because everyone has to be born from a woman but the man who eventually kills macbeth, is born from C section, or cut from a women and technically not birthed naturally, the loophole to beat all loopholes. The third apparition “Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no chafes, who frets….. Until Great Birnam to high Dunsinane hill, shall come against him.” Telling Macbeth that he shall not be harmed and not to be worried unless the woods uprooted themselves and traveled up the hill . When the woods are burned the smoke travels up the hill proving the apparitions statement and putting fear into Macbeth. Resulting of course in his own demise. Macbeths apparitions all riddles but all true. They were the most useless warning because they all sounded impossible, giving him false hope or negative reassurance, while before he knew it they all came true one way or another.

All the apparitions riddled Macbeth’s faith without revealing to him the truth. The theme is obviously expressed through this showing his fate before it occurs and he goes out of his way to stop his fall by killing Anyone who could fit these apparitions descriptions but was ultimately fooled by the wording of the riddles. Showing that these prophecies came true no matter what precautions Macbeth put forth. Macbeth could not escape his own fate even through his best attempts. Throughout Macbeth its shown how all the characters already have designated fate’s and destinys, the foreshadow is shown through the apparitions as well at the witches. Explaining to the view the theme of the inescapability of fate , rumoring the ending from the beginning showing how no matter what the main character does to avoid their own negative fate it is already set in stone and there is nothing he may do to change it. Macbeth starts unaware of the ending of his fate but is slowly described the pieces to his puzzle and what he must do or avoid in order to get his favorite ending to his story, however no matter what actions he takes he can’t escape what has already been set in to place.   

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