Guilt Can Affect Your Fate Macbeth was a manipulative man. He wasn’t like this before, but his wife told him that he was a coward and that there would be no way he could be king because he was too weak. So basically, Lady Macbeth had to help him plot to kill the king. Macbeth’s fate was to be king; however his best friend Banquo’s children were supposed to be king after Macbeth. Macbeth did not like this and plotted to kill everyone in his path, thus causing his guilty conscience. A guilty conscience can get in the way of things leading to fate, and fate may not be how one wants it to be. Shakespeare’s play Macbeth shows many themes. One of the themes is the role of a guilty conscience. Macbeth’s guilt builds up after everyone he kills. For example, when Macbeth finds out that he isn’t the only one who will be king he hires thieves to kill Banquo and his children. When Macbeth was having dinner with the Lords, he kept seeing Banquo’s ghost and was scared. Lady Macbeth told everyone that he does this all the time and that he has done this since he was a little boy. She says, “Things without all remedy / Should be without regard. What’s done is done” (3.2.13-14). Lady Macbeth is saying that undoing the past cannot be done and disregarding past deeds should be done. Think of the present and the future to come. Macbeth is furious that he won’t remain king. He says, “For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind; / For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered, / Put rancor’s in the vessel of my peace / Only for them, and mine eternal jewel / Given to the common enemy of man / To make them kings, the seeds of Banquo’s kings” (3.1.70-75). Macbeth basically is saying that he is angry that Banquo’s kids get to be king and his do not. He did everything he could to be king and realizes that it was all for nothing. He did this all for Banquo’s kids, or Banquo’s seeds as quoted above. Macbeth was talking to one of his servants and his servant said, “It is the cry of a woman my good Lord… / The queen is dead” (5.5.10-11). Macbeth’s guilt grows more when his wife dies even if he doesn’t show it. He realizes that he should’ve been there for his wife and that she should’ve been here in the hereafter. And so, the role of a guilty conscience can get into the way of fate. Unfortunately for Macbeth, he realizes it too late and everyone he has loved was killed either by him or suicide. Also, in the end, once he killed so many people, Macbeth realizes he should have let fate take its course thus giving him a guilty conscience.
Another one of Shakespeare’s themes is Fate vs. Free Will. When the witches told Macbeth he is destined to be king, that it is his fate. Macbeth states smugly and powerfully, “If chance shall crown me without my stir” (1.3.158); which means that if he is the one who should have the crown, King Duncan would give it to him without Macbeth having to do anything rash. When he isn’t crowned, Macbeth decides he must kill Duncan. Also meaning, that Macbeth is following his “chance” and the chance is his fate.
Macbeth also states, “"Rather than so, come fate into the list, / And champion me to the utterance!” (3.1.70-71).This basically means that Macbeth is challenged by his fate. The words “come fate” means to let the fate come. So basically, Macbeth is challenging fate to a fight to a bitter end.
At the beginning of the supper that Macbeth had with the great Lords, he told the murderers that it will not only be Banquo that dies, but his son, Fleance, will die too. He tells them “…must embrace the fate / Of that dark hour” (3.1.136-137). Here "fate" means a terrible thing that is going to happen. And because it is Macbeth, it is going to happen. As it turns out, Fleance escapes this particular "fate" and lives.
In conclusion, Fate vs. Free will is basically the cause of a guilty conscience. Macbeth’s fate to stay king, made him lose everything, including his wife and his best friend. Macbeth’s free will said that he could change the fate that the witches prophesied to him. However, Macbeth did not change his fate, and even if he tried to it would’ve been too late because of all the guilt he has obtained. To sum it up, a guilty conscience and fate can lead to bad consequences, even if they risk your life in the end.