Is Macbeth a Victim of Fate or His Own Ambitious Choices?

1264 words 6 pages
"Is Macbeth a victim of fate or his own ambitious choices?" Fate, unlike fatalism, does not stipulate that human deliberation and actions are inconsequential in causing an event, as its occurrence is inevitable. Rather it simply states that all events, and the choices leading up to them, are predetermined; hence the role of freewill is no less significant in deciding fated events than it is when considering situations from a non-fated perspective. This concept can be observed in William Shakespeare's Macbeth, in which the title character's fate, as it is prophesised in the play, is clearly the result of and dependent on his own decisions as much as it is circumstances beyond his control. Several times during the play, such as in …show more content…

The prophecies do not come true with Macbeth helpless to stop them; rather he is the cause of their occurrence, even though he acts based on his own deliberation:
‘The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
To crown my thoughts with acts…' (4.1.143-149)
In terms of fate it could be said that Macbeth's nature, the manner in which he makes his choices, was predetermined; consequently, his fate as prophesised includes and is dependent on his ambition and decisions for it to occur. As such Macbeth's demise is effectively the result of the decisions he was fated to make.

Alternatively, the events following Duncan's murder could be interpreted as being beyond Macbeth's ability to significantly alter, regardless of his decisions, and are indicative of fate's role in his undoing. The fact that all the prophecies come true, despite Macbeth's opposition, would suggest that an indomitable force of fate is at play. The prophecy concerning the manner of Macbeth's death:
‘…None of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth' (4.1.80-81)
- serves as the main proof of this interpretation, as it would seem to be fulfilled no matter what decisions


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