A Desired Fate- The Role of Fate in Shakespear's Macbeth

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Dennis 1

Robyn Dennis

Ms. Suzanne Kuehl

English IV, Period 2

April 22, 2002

A Desired Fate

Throughout the whole of William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, the theme of fate versus human desire plays out as a continual struggle for the titled character. Macbeth, despite his initial display of strength and integrity, allows his tragic flaw of compulsion to overshadow the inherent senses of reason and good judgment that all human beings possess. Furthermore, Macbeth is lured by the tempting divinations of three mysterious and devious witches whose prophecies, though seemingly implausible, only serve to assure Macbeth that fate and not free will is the master of his actions. In truth, Macbeth is never governed by the numinous power professed by the witches but rather falls prey to his own selfish ambition that excuses each heinous crime and escalates the chaos that could have been avoided by the simple enactment of sensibility and free will.

Act I of Macbeth opens with an eerie, supernatural event. Three witches, chanting in circuitous verse, soon reveal that they will in some way become entwined in the story about to unfold concerning Macbeth. These three upstarts leave the audience feeling ominous as to Macbeth's future as they prophesy that fair is foul and foul, fair. Shakespeare, in an attempt to throw the audience off, then introduces the character of brave Macbeth. He is a valiant warrior, has served his King faithfully, and " well he deserves that

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name".(1. 2. 16) Hence, for his noble battle accomplishments, he is rewarded the prize of the inheritance of the Thane of Cawdor thus fulfilling the first prophesy of the three vagrants. Not soon after, Macbeth's first weakness appears. In a meaningful conversation with Banquo, Macbeth reveals in a aside that he fully expects the remaining two...



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