Macbeth is one of the four great tragedies, which is extremely famous all around the world, written by William Shakespeare in 1606, has narrated how the tragic main character Macbeth degenerated from a brave Scottish general who was highly praised by people to a tyrannical and merciless governor, and he finally died in the attack from England. This book is controversial because “There are thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes” (William Shakespeare). Therefore, some people think that Macbeth is driven by fate while another observation is that Macbeth is driven by his ambition. According to the play, it is obviously to say that Macbeth is driven by fate with the following reasons.First of all, the predictions of the witched suggests that Macbeth following behavior is determined by his fate. At the beginning of the play, three witches predict that:First Witch: All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Glamis.Second Witch: All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor.Third Witch: All hail Macbeth, hail to thee King Hereafter. (1.3, 48-50)The text indicates that before he met the witches, he was not keen on becoming a king. However, after the witches’ predictions, he becomes aggressive on taking the thrown by all means. In scene 3, the ascendency of Macbeth to kingship was announced by the witches who declared that he will be a king one day. After the disappearance of the witches, he wonderers whether his reign will naturally fall on him or he will have to perform an evil act to get it. Thus, it is logical to hold that free will was not involved in Macbeth’s desire of becoming a king because he wanted the leadership due to the prophecy of the witches.
Moreover, Macbeth’s ambition is not natural but based on the prophecy of the witch doctors after hearing about the predications from witches. Thus, driven by his fate, he becomes eager to be king, and he kills anybody who gets on his way. Macbeth: The Prince of Cumberland: that is a step/ On which I must fall down, or else o’er-leap/ …/ Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see (1.4, 49-54). For instance, through the advice of his wife, Macbeth kills King Duncan as a leeway to his destiny. The plot to kill the kings is fulfilled when King Duncan pays a visit to Macbeth’s family. At night, Macbeth moves to the king’s bedroom and murders him while asleep.
Still it cried ‘sleep no more’ to all the house:
‘Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more – Macbeth shall sleep no more (2.2, 40-43)
After realizing that the workers will leak the information, he kills the chamberlains, compelling the sons of the king to flee to exile fearing that whoever who killed the father may also kill them. According to these facts, the fate of killing the King Duncan and replace him drives Macbeth to become ambitious and let him degenerated.
The fear of fate also propels Macbeth to pursue the life of Banquo and his son. Through the predictions of the magical forces, Banquo’s lines would eventually sit on the thrown after the reign of Macbeth. The prophecy perturbed Macbeth who thought that if the first prophecy came true the second one might also be fulfilled. As a result, Macbeth hires a group of murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance.
First Murderer: ‘Tis Banquo’s then
Macbeth: ‘Tis better thee without than he within. Is he dispatched?
First Murderer: My lord, his throat is cut, that I did for him
Macbeth: Thou art the best o’th’ cut-throats
… First Murderer: Fleance is scaped (3.4, 14-19)
They killed Banquo although the son disappears into the night making Macbeth be insecure about his position in power (Pg. 365). In this context, it is evident that Macbeth’s actions are driven by fate more than his will and volition. He fears determinism than the present state of affairs. Witches appear to be a driver of his actions more than anything else, as the representative of god who determines Macbeth’s fate
Last but not the least, Lady Macbeth, who plays as a necessary and important part of Macbeth’s fate, also gives him pressure and persuasion which damage the volition of Macbeth. For example, when Macbeth declares that he no longer intends to kill Duncan, the wife calls him a coward and questions his manhood.
Lady Macbeth: My hands are all of your colour, but I shame to wear a heart so white. /…/
How easy is it then! (2.2, 65-67).
Macbeth chooses to follow his fate because he is determined to be the King, due to not only the witches’ predictions but also his wife’s encouragement.
Therefore, it is disagreed with the observation that Macbeth’s actions resulted from the free will. Macbeth’s desires never originated from his natural desires but the determinism of the witches and the wife. If Macbeth acted out of free will, then we could have seen the reasons that propelled his ascendancy. That is the character did not have the desire to serve, but he willed to take the leadership so as to fulfill the magical prophecy and please the wife.
In a conclusion, Macbeth’s character is driven by fate. Macbeth is greedy and ambitious to gain power to fulfill the magical prophecy of the witches. The character is also presented as a serial murderer who kills anybody who appears to be an obstacle on his way to power. He is also presented us untrustworthy and a betrayer who does not spare even his friends. All his evil actions originate from the witches’ predictions that he will be a king of Scotland and he does everything to preserve his position.
Shakespeare, William, and Roma Gill. Macbeth. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001. Print.