The theme of fate in Macbeth
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“Macbeth” is a classic play by William Shakespeare written in 1623. Fate and free will can be seen among other central topics throughout the course of the play. In this essay, I will examine many questions about this main character and the problems discussed in the text.
Some of them are the following: what is the meaning behind fate and free will? Do they work together as something whole, or are they two different substances that do not intercept each other? Also, I will look at the evidence of which character or force is responsible for the tragedy of Macbeth and try to find enough evidence to prove that Macbeth follows up more on free will than fate.
The applications of fate in free will in Macbeth
Macbeth is a classic English play that investigates the application of ideas of fate and free will. While some may claim that Macbeth’s fate is to be a traitor and a King, others are convinced that it could have happened naturally, as a part of his fate. However, I believe that the general was able to speed up the fate process by killing Duncan. By committing a homicide, the protagonist is able to obtain the crown sooner.
Generally, fate and free will have a lot of things in common. Free will defines how one will encounter their fate. This concept is well explained in the first Act: And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling, show’d like a rebel’s whore. But all’s too weak; For brave Macbeth; Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution?. This quote is from Macbeth’s army captain, noting in his words that in the battle, Macbeth should have died.
The captain says Macbeth is strong, despite his words, and can out rule his fate. After all, we can see fate as the reason why the main character didn’t die as he should’ve. Another question that still stands: is Macbeth acting because of his own free will, or is he an agent of fate?
Does Macbeth neglect his fate?
At the beginning of the narrative, it seems as though Macbeth is doing everything in his power to follow his destiny. However, as the time comes around, it is actually evident that he follows up on free will. This claim is proven in the following words”I am settled, and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show; false face must hide what the false heart doth know?”. Macbeth has decided to deal with things based on his free will. However, one more question remains unanswered: who or what is responsible for the tragedy that happened with Macbeth’s life?
Macbeth puts himself in a lot of uncomfortable scenarios. Based on all the given evidence, some might believe Macbeth is responsible for the tragedy that eventually killed him. His attitude shows a very evil, greedy, and selfish human being. He only cares about himself and his desires. At first, Macbeth is shown as a brave man, but as the play progresses, the reader sees how he will harm anyone who gets in his way. The text reads: “Oh yet I do repent me of my fury / that I did kill them?”. Macbeth appears his own worst enemy. Once he l Duncan, he also murders the guard, just in case so that no one and nothing gets in his way.
Macbeth is a self-centered personality that only cares about himself and what can benefit him in his future plans. Instead of expecting his fate to happen, he puts plans into action and goes mad. That’s the point where he uses a lot of his free will. He makes all decisions that finally lead to his death. This proves that all of the decisions were to benefit his own. Thus free will oversteps fate in the course of this play.
- Shakespeare, W. (1992). Macbeth. Wordsworth Editions.