Macbeth, William Shakespeare, freewill, Duncan, supernatural, Banquo, manipulation
Every piece of life seems to be interconnected. They can be the pieces to a puzzle, or they can be a perception of a whole. In both cases, life is a culmination of one's actions. In Macbeth (hereinafter referred to as "the Play"), a predetermined path seems to be set for Macbeth. From the prophecies to the supernatural, Macbeth's actions actively contribute toward his undoing.
Although the supernatural may influence his life, Macbeth forges his own destiny by choosing his actions. In a world without freewill, actions can exist without reason; however, Macbeth's actions are made in context of his personality and situation. It is upon a conscious purpose that Macbeth has chosen his actions.
[...] For Lady Macbeth, her desire for power is passed onto Macbeth in the form of cruelty, ruthlessness, and deception. Similar to the prophecies, these ideas become the formulating foundation of Macbeth's actions. Henceforth, actions are controlled by the personal interpretation and circumstantial understanding of a situation. While external influences exist, Macbeth shows the ability to think and act independently. By acknowledging his position of being Duncan's “kinsman and . subject”, he shows the existence of freedom of thought (I.vii.13). This eventually becomes action when he tells Lady Macbeth that they should “proceed no further in this business” (I.vii.33). [...]
[...] Similarly, Macbeth could have reacted differently to the floating dagger. Regardless of its existence, bloody business which informs” could have appealed to his humanity (II.i.55). Even though the final decision is still murder, Macbeth's guilt creates variation and hesitation in his actions. With enough time, Macbeth could have been persuaded into not killing Duncan. Opposed to fate, actions pave one's life as they are being made. Conversely, in a world of fate, every action contributes to a unique and predetermined path. [...]
[...] This situation may be the cause of Macbeth's desperation for power. It is this desire that creates the thought of cheating his way into kingship. Arguably, this situation and personality would predetermine his actions and, hence, fate. With this fatal flaw, the supernatural is able to manipulate his “security” (III.v.32) to “draw him on to his confusion” (III.v.29). Nevertheless, the fact that the supernatural needs to influence Macbeth suggests that there are alternative paths. Thus, fate exists through freewill. Without the prophecies, Macbeth would not have the “black and deep desires” of murder, for there would not be a purpose for it (I.iv.58). [...]
[...] Although the supernatural may influence his life, Macbeth forges his own destiny by choosing his actions. In a world without freewill, actions can exist without reason; however, Macbeth's actions are made in context of his personality and situation. It is upon a conscious purpose that Macbeth has chosen his actions. By acting upon the prophecies, Macbeth fulfills them. If one's fate must be heard in order for it to occur, there must exist the possibility where the idea is not implemented. [...]
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