The Downfall of Macbeth: Fate Versus Free Will.
Though fate may play a part in our lives, we have choices to make and we must accept responsibility for these choices, as well as the consequences. If we do not, then fate becomes a perfect excuse for one's actions. Macbeth, a famous play by William Shakespeare, is a classic example of fate versus free will as the character, Macbeth, undergoes a moral decline and eventual demise. Although prophecies from apparitions motivated Macbeth's actions and ultimately played a detrimental role in his tragic downfall, he was not a victim of fate, rather he was a victim of his own poor choices. The prophecies of the apparitions, the pressures and manipulation of his wife and his own long-time ambition and desire to be King were the guiding forces which brought about Macbeth's destruction.
The prophecies of the apparitions started Macbeth's downward spiral of defeat by inspiring his thoughts and sparking his already present ambition. By looking at the first set of prophecies we see that the witches greeted Macbeth by the titles of Thane of Glamis (his current position), Thane of Cawdor (a recently awarded position though he was not aware of it at this point), and King of Scotland. When Macbeth learned of his new title which was misrepresented as a prophecy by the witches, he began to contemplate murdering King Duncan in order to realize the witches' prophecy of becoming King. Basically, the first two things the witches tell Macbeth aren't prophecies because they have already occurred. The third thing the witches tell Macbeth, that he will become King of Scotland, does come true. However, this did not happen because of fate. It happened because Macbeth made it happen. The witches didn't make Macbeth kill the King; they only tempted him. It was his own determination that led him to commit the crime. After receiving the prophecies from the witches and even before he reached home, Macbeth is overcome with the desire to be powerful and he cannot shake the thought of the King's murder as evidenced by the following quote.