“Macbeth” is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. The play Macbeth is about the rise and fall of Macbeth, who becomes corrupted by power. Macbeth’s ambition leads him to commit murder and other vile acts, which eventually lead to his downfall.
The question of fate vs. free will is a major theme in the play, as Macbeth must decide whether to follow his own ambitions or submit to fate. In the end, Macbeth’s actions are responsible for his own downfall, suggesting that free will ultimately triumphs over fate.
The majority of Americans believe in free will, but what they may not know is that fate also plays a role in their decisions. Fate and free will are both important factors when it comes to a person’s life. Although it may seem like we have control over our lives, Shakespeare’s uses characterization, themes, and foreshadowing in his tragedy Macbeth to demonstrate how these two concepts are intertwined with each other.
Fate, often personified as a character or force, is often thought of as something that is predetermined and outside of human control. It is the concept that there are certain things in life that are meant to be and cannot be changed no matter what a person does. Free will, on the other hand, is the belief that humans have the power to choose their own actions and destiny. So which one truly has more control over a person’s life?
In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses characterization to show how fate can take control even when someone believes they are in control of their own free will. Macbeth is a brave warrior who fights for his king without question. However, he is easily persuaded by others and has a great ambition to be king himself. When Macbeth is told by the witches that he will be king, he starts to believe that it is his fate to take the throne.
This revelation changes Macbeth’s character as he becomes more power hungry and ruthless in his actions. He even murders his own friend, Banquo, because he is afraid that Banquo’s children will take the throne instead of his own. Macbeth’s belief that it is his fate to be king ultimately leads to his downfall.
In addition to characterization, Shakespeare also uses themes to emphasize how fate and free will are intertwined. The theme of appearances versus reality is prevalent throughout the play. Macbeth’s ambition to be king causes him to see things that are not really there.
For example, after Macbeth kills Duncan, he starts to see a floating dagger in front of him. This is most likely a product of his guilt, but Macbeth believes the dagger is real and is a sign from fate that he should kill Banquo. Macbeth’s actions throughout the play are driven by his hallucinations, which ultimately lead to his downfall.
Shakespeare also uses foreshadowing to hint at how Macbeth’s belief in fate will lead to his demise. In the very beginning of the play, the witches tell Macbeth that he will be king but “shalt be what thou art promised” (I.iii.50-51). Macbeth takes this to mean that he is destined to be king, but the witches are actually foreshadowing his death. Macbeth is not just promised to be king, but he is also promised to be killed by Macduff. In the end, Macbeth’s belief in fate leads him to his death.
Both fate and free will play an important role in Macbeth and in a person’s life. No one has complete control over their life, but everyone has the power to make choices that will affect their future. It is up to each individual to decide how much weight they put on fate versus free will.
In Macbeth, Shakespeare expertly shows how fate and free will work together through his use of characterization. For example, Macbeth says If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me Without my stir. (1.3). Here we see that Macbeth is willing to let “chance” take its course instead of taking matters into his own hands- or in this case; committing regicide against Duncan.
Macbeth knows that he is prophesied to be king, but still believes in the power of free will. This ultimately leads to his downfall because he chooses to act on the witches’ prophecies and murders Duncan. Macbeth’s actions show that even though fate may have a plan for us, we still have the power to choose our own actions.
Another example of how Shakespeare uses characterization to explore the theme of fate and free will is through Lady Macbeth. After Macbeth tells her about the witches’ prophecies, she immediately starts scheming about how they can make it come true. She says All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter! (1.5.54).
Unlike Macbeth, who is at least somewhat hesitant about killing Duncan, Lady Macbeth is eager to make the prophecy come true. She Prodded by their plot,/ Macbeth murders Duncan (2.2.12-13), which leads to Macbeth’s downfall and ultimately her own death. Lady Macbeth’s actions show that even though we may know what fate has in store for us, we can still choose to act on it or not.
Lady Macbeth is Macbeth’s wife and another illustration of significant characterization. She was the one who first incited Macbeth to murder King Duncan in the play. Lady Macbeth says, “This is a sorry sight” (2.3.18). This shows how arrogant Lady Macbeth can be, as well as imploring for improvement from her husband by stating it to him.
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies. It tells the story of Macbeth, a Scottish general, who hears a prophecy that he will one day be king. Macbeth becomes obsessed with this prophecy and takes drastic measures to ensure that it comes true. In doing so, Macbeth descends into madness and ultimately destroys himself. The question of whether Macbeth’s actions are the result of fate or free will is a major theme of the play.
There are several instances in the play where it seems as though Macbeth’s actions are predetermined by fate. For example, Macbeth meets three witches who prophesy that he will become king. Macbeth also sees a dagger floating in the air, which leads him to believe that he is destined to kill Duncan. However, there are also several instances where it seems as though Macbeth has the power to choose his own destiny. For example, Macbeth could have chosen not to murder Duncan, even though he knew that it would further his ambitions.
It is ultimately up to the reader to decide whether Macbeth’s actions are the result of fate or free will. However, it is clear that Macbeth’s obsession with the prophecy leads him down a path of destruction from which there is no turning back.