Fate in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Destiny and fate are very similar, often both are thought of as unchangeable. However, one’s fate is not predetermined; it is determined by one’s own decisions and actions. In William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, characters’ fates are decided by their own actions, however those actions are manipulated. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s decisions are predominantly influenced by the witches. Although, the witches manipulate Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, their fates are determined by their own actions.
The witches manipulate Macbeth and Lady Macbeth through misleading and double meaning prophecies. The first sign of the witches’ trickery is when the witches tell Macbeth about his future. They say to him, “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. / All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor. / All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter.” (1. 3. 46-8). Moments later Ross tells Macbeth that he is now “Thane of Cawdor” (1. 3. 103). Though the witches seem to have predicted that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth does not realize that the witches only told him this a few moments before Ross tells him the same thing. This suggests that the witches did not predict that Macbeth would become Thane of Cawdor, instead they already knew that King Duncan had given Macbeth the title. Macbeth, not realizing this, believes in the witches’ powers and is therefore being influenced by the witches. Following this, Macbeth writes a letter to Lady Macbeth about his encounter with the witches which makes her think about a future where Macbeth is king. When Lady Macbeth sees Macbeth after reading his letter she says, “Great Glamis, Worthy Cawdor, / Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter, / Thy letters have transported me beyond / This ignorant present, and I feel now / The future in the instant” (1. 5. 53-7). Lady Macbeth is indirectly being manipulated by the witches as she too believes their prophecy that Macbeth will...
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