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The line between destiny and free will is a thin one. More often than not, it is confused and misread. Destiny and freewill go hand in hand. However, the former is commonly considered as fate and is beyond human influence. On the other hand, human activities influence free will. This essay discusses the Macbeth play, how the main character (Macbeth) acts, and the influences of his behavior on his destiny.
William Shakespeare, the renowned author and playwright, wrote the play Macbeth. Written in the early 17th century and set in Scotland, the play revolves around the life of Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis and thereby a general of the King. Macbeth goes to war against a neighboring territory and conquers it. After the conquest, he meets three witches who prophecy that he will become the Thane of Cawdor and later ascend to the throne (Bloom, 11). At first, Macbeth cannot fully comprehend what the witches are saying, and the news takes him by surprise. Indeed, shortly, one of the prophecies comes true as Macbeth is bestowed with a new title; the Thane of Cawdor. As Macbeth realized that he would soon become king, seeds of ambition and impatience begin to grow in him (Bloom, 13).
King Duncan decides to go to Macbeth’s place to spend the night and celebrate their victory in the war against the previous Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth confides in his wife, Lady Macbeth regarding the prophecy. Lady Macbeth urges him to prove that he is a man and murder the king so that he can take over (Bloom, 21). At this point, Macbeth has options. He can decide to follow his wife’s advice and commit the atrocious act or he can remain patient and let the prophecy unfold. He decides to adopt his wife’s strategy and murders the king despite a lot of internal conflict. After committing the act, Macbeth, and his wife, go ahead and silence the king’s guards to keep their secret in the dark. Despite this, suspicion sets in especially at the manner in which Macbeth murdered the guards purportedly in a fit of anger. The two sons of King Duncan, the legitimate heirs to the throne flee, as they fear that the same fate will befall them. Macbeth, therefore, takes over and is crowned the new king (Bloom, 24).
The subsequent days of his era are marred with guilt and suspicion. Naturally, the circumstances under which he rose to power support this fact. He is under the impression that he has many enemies and yet again, plots to commit another murder. This time round, one of his generals, Banquo and his son are the targets. He manages to have Banquo killed, but his son escapes. This is followed closely by the murder of Lord Macduff’s family as Macbeth seeks to secure his place in the throne. Macbeth believes that as long as Macduff’s descendants remain in existence, his throne is in jeopardy (Bloom, 55). This is a way of twisting fate to his advantage. Before long, the ghost of Banquo starts haunting him, and that is where his troubles begin. His wife too begins to have unfamiliar habits especially sleepwalking. This degenerate into madness of some sorts as she insists the imaginary blood in her hands will not come off. She begins to regret why she had talked her husband into committing the murders. She later commits suicide herself. Macbeth, in the wake of his wife’s death, becomes desolate. His actions begin to haunt him. In his quest to take over the throne and keep it, he has killed many people. Even though, according to the prophecy, he would ascend to the throne, he forces fate to unfold to his advantage. The forces brought together by Macduff and Malcolm, King Duncan’s son, attack Macbeth’s kingdom. His forces are overwhelmed, and Macduff beheads him as Malcolm is crowned the new king (Bloom, 73).
Macbeth’s wild ambition and impatience play a crucial role in his quest for the throne. He adopts his own evil ways, with the influence of his wife to see the prophecy come true. Indeed, the prophecy does come true, but not without consequences. The underhand methods by which he rose to power are depicted by the unceremonious way in which he is ousted and ultimately executed.