Every individual struggles with the concept of what are the true driving forces behind everyones choices, and the outcomes they end up with. In William Shakespeares tragic play, Macbeth, the ambitious main character stops at nothing to become king of Scotland when three witches predict that he will, one day, take the throne. Macbeth conquers obstacles to achieve his desire to become king, and the reader often struggles as to whether or not Macbeths destiny is being driven by fortune, the Three Witches predictions, or his own decisions. In the end, Macbeth is responsible for his downfall because his own free will self-fulfills the witches prophecies, but,his belief in fortune and fate influence the decisions he makes and lead him to his destruction.
Although fortune and fate are factors Shakespeare keeps on adding drama to the tragedy, mainly because, Macbeth possesses free will and his downfall is a major outcome of the choices he makes. For example, after Lady Macbeth criticizes her Macbeth about hessitating in murdering Duncan to become king, Macbeth boldly says, Prithee peace! / I dare do all that may become a man / Who dares do more is none
before that, Macbeth has been wavering in his temptation to murder the king,but after insults from his wife emasculating him, he assures he will do what it takes to become a man. Macbeths statement is a conscious decision that proves it was his own choice to murder the king, partly because of pressure from his wife, and not an accident because of fortune or fate. Towards the end of the play, Macbeth is frustrated at his hesitation to kill Macduff that allows him to escape, and in response Macbeth tells himself, To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done!. At this point Macbeth is taking matters in his own hands and will unconciously act on any thoughts he has. Since Macbeth decides to act on his own impulses, he is discrediting any role fortune or fate could play in his future and takes ownership of his actions. Fundamentally, Macbeth is a self-fulfilling consumption because his own free will brings him to the point of his downfall.
The concept of fortune is an idea Macbeth acknowledges in Shakespeares play. However, he often overrules leaving matters up in the air by taking action to achieve his crazy goals. The first example of Macbeth overcoming the forces of fortune is when the Captain is glorifying Macbeth in battle and says, And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling, / Showed like a rebels whore, But alls too weak; / For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name) / Disdaining Fortune, which his brandished steel. The Captain suggests how Macbeth fights against Fortune with determination and defeats Macdonwald in battle. This quote is introduced in the beginning of the play and is importante because it foreshadows future events where Macbeth forcefully and willfully overcomes the power of chance. Shortly after hearing the prophecies made by The Three Witches Macbeth mumbles, If chance will have my King, why / Chance may crown me, / Without my stir. Macbeth appears to be happy to leave his future to fortune, and he assumes he will not be required to take action in order to fulfill the prophecy of becoming king. However, in the next scene he decides to take action against Malcolm becoming heir to the throne, which proves that Macbeth does not leave the future to chance after all. Another problem in where Macbeth tries to give chance credit in his future is when he mentions, Let not light see my black and deep desires / The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, / Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. Macbeth is hoping that Duncan will be murdered but he doesnt want to see it be done. Although he originally hopes that fortune will play in his favor, he eventually murders Duncan himself and bears witness to the act proving he cannot risk chance over pursuing his own ambition. All in all, although Macbeth does acknowledges his fortune as being a role in determining his future, he often questions his own hopes of chance working in his favor by freely choosing actions.
Macbeths fate is predicted several times to him by three supernatural witches, however, knowing too much about the future , Macbeth reaches his downfall by his own choices. When the Three Witches first appear to Macbeth and Banquo the Third Witch has a prophecy for Macbeth that claims, All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!. In this statement, the witch is predicting that Macbeth will one day become King of Scotland; but, it is important to realize that the witch never describes how Macbeth achieves the throne. Despite the fact that the prophecy doesnt take Macbeth to believe that his future title of the throne is destined, in reality, he becomes king on his own mind by murdering Duncan. Another occasion when the witches reveal prophecies to Macbeth, they reassure him that no man born from a woman can harm him; Macbeths response is, Then live, Macduff, What need I fear of thee? / But yet Ill make assurance double sure / And take a bond of fate. Thou shalt not live!. Regardless of the prophecys promise of safety, Macbeth concludes to keep in mind insurance of his security by murdering Macduff. By doing that, Macbeth is choosing to guarantee his destiny other than letting fate protect him. Finally, Macbeth is overconfident in the predictions of the witches and he admits, Bring me no more reports. Let them fly all! / Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane, I cannot taint with fear // The mind I sway by and the heart I
bear / Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear. Macbeth will not be overwhelmed by fear or worry because the prophecies of the know it all witches convince him that he is undefeatable. Since he believes he is invincible, he disregards the warnings about the army coming and wrecks himself because he battles although the odds of him winning are stacked against him. The outcome, the path that Macbeths life takes is not related to fate or predestination, but his own ignorance the predictions give him.
Throughout Macbeth, Macbeth claims that he will leave matters up to fate and fortune to decide, but, he often takes actions to make sure the prophecies the witches speak to him come true. Since he keeps misinterpretting the promises from the supernatural witches, he incontiously makes himself believe that he is indestructible, and in return, this brings up his flaw of too much confidence. It is Macbeths own decision that drags him down the path of destruction. Macbeths ambitious free will self-fulfills the prophecies he gets, and he does not allow fate or fortune to be the force behind his rediculous actions.