Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare about the downfall of Macbeth, a Scottish lord and later King. Macbeth goes through three stages in his life: initially noble and just, then corrupted into committing regicide to attain power and eventually suffering from guilt. Macbeth’s tragic flaw or error is his ambition which leads him to murder the King, Duncan, in order to take his place. Macbeth is later visited by three apparitions or witches who predict Macbeth’s downfall.
This leads Macbeth to believe that he has free choice when in fact the course of Macbeth’s life was already predetermined. Several times throughout Macbeth Macbeth is reminded of the prophecies made by the witches. Macbeth is constantly questioning whether he has free will or not. Macbeth phrases questions such as, “Is this a dagger which I see before me? ” Macbeth constantly refers to different sources of power during Macbeth’s lifetime including fate, prophecy, and “supernatural soliciting.
Macbeth’s language is extremely significant in Macbeth. Macbeth changes his perspective on fate because of the witch’s prophecies that he has free choice and will be king. Macbeth often questions whether his actions are right or wrong, but eventually Macbeth sees himself as good person who struggles to do the right thing. Macbeth’s perspective on the witches and their prophecies change over time. MacBeth believes that the witches prediction of MacDuff taking his place as king is wrong because MacDuff already had a claim to royalty.
Years later, Macbeth calls Banquo’s issue with Fleance a “weakness in his prophecy” Macbeth views MacDuff as a threat because MacDuff is the rightful heir to the throne. MacBeth does not believe in fate for most of Macbeth’s life; he believes that he has free will and makes his own decisions. MacBeth’s perspective changes over time after being visited by different people including witches, Banquo, MacDuff, and Macbeth’s wife. This changes Macbeth’s perspective on fate and free will because Macbeth begins to be more aware of the influences of others on his decisions.
Macbeth is a dramatic tragedy by William Shakespeare about Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis and later also Than of Cawdor, who receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. The story is an expanded version of a tale from “Holinshed’s Chronicles”, a history of Britain familiar to Shakespeare. Macbeth becomes a heroic protagonist of his country and his personal ambition leads him to great risk as time passes. In the end, Macbeth loses everything – power, title and even his life – because he cannot overcome the influence of evil or defy fate.
Fate is defined as predestination: things that have been decided or ordained to happen in advance. Macbeth is a tragedy of Macbeth’s ambition leading him to ruin despite his heroism in the face of overwhelming forces. Macbeth begins with Macduff and Lennox discussing the strange events regarding predictions made by three witches about Macbeth. Macduff, being sceptical, does not believe that Macbeth will become king at all, whereas Lennox believes Macbeth was meant to be king from birth.
This conversation foreshadows Macbeth’s eventual downfall because he does become King but also because he cannot escape fate; it comes to control his life instead of allowing him to make his own decisions. When Macduff goes back to Scotland, Duncan names him Thane of Fife, Macbeth’s home county. Macbeth is initially happy and honoured to hear this news, but when Macduff then rebels against Macbeth and kills many members of the royal family, Macbeth does not even try to convince Macduff that he would be a better king than Duncan.
This shows that Macbeth wants power too much to risk it all for his friends or family. Fate controls Macbeth because he could have saved lives by making decisions other than murder, such as imprisoning Macduff so his country would still have a leader. However, Macbeth makes these bad choices because he thinks they will give him more power in the long run; whether his actions are good or evil does not matter, as Macbeth is not truly in control of his life. Macbeth’s fate is sealed when Macduff and Malcolm come to fight Macbeth.
Macbeth regrets his decision to kill Duncan, as he says “I am in blood/Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more,/Returning were as tedious as go o’er. ” Macbeth does not have a choice of whether or not he goes into battle because he is already stained with the blood of Duncan. Macduff kills Macbeth by wounding him with spears and then cutting off his head with a sword. The prophecy from the witches comes true – Macbeth has become king – but what they did not say is whether Macbeth would be a good king. Macbeth’s actions, which were not decided by his own will but by fate, show that he is not fit to rule as a monarch.
Thus, Macbeth does become King of Scotland, as the witches foretold through their prophecy, but it was all part of his downfall, as everything Macbeth did was predestined from the time he killed Duncan until the moment Macduff killed him (directly or indirectly). Fate controlled Macbeth throughout his life and ultimately led to his death; people seem unable to avoid fate even though they can make decisions. Shakespeare uses lots of symbolism in Macbeth because it shows how powerful words are; Macbeth can change his mind when Macduff rebels against him because Macduff says “Lay on Macduff, and damn’d be him who first cries hold!.
Macbeth hears this speech in Macduff’s third line of dialogue which shows Macbeth is willing to accept Macduff’s good advice. Macbeth knows that Macduff would not say this unless he was truly frightened for his life or someone else close to him, so Macbeth changes the way he thinks about what it means to kill Macduff. However, Macbeth does exactly what he did before with Banquo because the prophecy tells him that Banquo will be important one day which makes Macbeth paranoid.
This is Macbeth actually making a decision, but it goes against what Macduff said and therefore Macbeth is still not making his own decisions. Macbeth decides to kill Macduff’s family because he is afraid of Macduff, especially after the prophecy from the witches. This is perhaps another decision made by Macbeth because if Macbeth does not kill Macduff’s family, then Macduff might rebel against him even more. In this case, Macbeth makes a poor choice that will come back to haunt him in the future; it is possible that he would have had an easy time with Macduff and Malcolm if he left them alone.
However this choice was also caused by fate because Macbeth does not know what Macduff and Malcolm will do until Macduff tells him to “Lay on Macduff, and damn’d be him who first cries hold!. ” Macbeth’s paranoia towards the prophecy is an important part of his downfall as it makes him kill those around him that he fears will challenge his power. Fate controls Macbeth because if the witches never made a prophecy about Macbeth becoming king then Duncan would still be alive and Macbeth would never have become king. If this had happened, Macbeth might have lived a long life or at least more peacefully than he did.