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Fate Versus Free Will as the Determinants of Macbeth's Fate

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“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path” (Buddha). Hence, one’s future is the development of events beyond a person’s control. However, William Shakespeare, the author of the play Macbeth used the main character throughout the story to show how fate can be altered. That is why Macbeth’s fate was determined by free will. Shakespeare managed to show that Macbeth was responsible for his downfall seeing as he was a power hungry, arrogant and ambitious man.

Foremost, Macbeth has a strong desire for power, in view of the fact that he will rely on the witches prophecies and commit gruesome acts to be at the top of the social scale. In fact, it is human nature to crave power. Moreover, the more power that is obtained the more power hungry someone would become. For instance, this can be seen when Macbeth acquired the position of Thane of Cawdor. Even though he was just given an enormous responsibility, he wanted more. In the play, Malcolm delineated Macbeth as somebody who contains every last bit of evil there might be within the world. Both Malcolm and Macduff had realized that he was deceiving everyone whereas living the luxurious lifestyle as a king. They relate his temperament and actions to the one word that describes him best, greed. He stated, ‘I grant him bloody, luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin that has a name.’ (Shakespeare 74).

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Macbeth’s greed had dangerous effects on his downfall considering he made some poor decisions for the simple reason of power. Secondarily, it is clear that Macbeth seeks to eliminate all threats to his throne due to the fact that he first murders Banquo and his children in order to ensure that Banquo’s children will not pose a threat to Macbeth’s rule. Moreover, while considering the witches prophecy who warn him of Macduff, Macbeth is required to take action against him. When the murderers arrive to Lady Macduff’s hiding place, they seek to find Macduff himself. But to their dismay, he is not there and instead finds the family there. They kill the family in part to eliminate the threat to Macbeth, but also to send the message to Macduff that they will not fear him and that they believe him to be a traitor. Ironically, it is in this moment that Macbeth seals his own fate. By murdering Macduff’s family he ensures that Macduff will retaliate and instigate an insurgency against him, ultimately concluding in Macbeth’s downfall.


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