Some people are convinced that each person's life is pre-determined by an outside force such as fate which has already decided every event in that person's life such as the time of death, but others are antithetical and may argue that a person's life is determined by each individual choice the person makes. Some people take the in-between route and believe that lives are sketched out, but can be slightly altered with each choice. William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" is a tragic play that details the rise and fall of King Macbeth of a once placid Scotland, and the momentum for the play's dark progression, along with the source of Macbeth's status as a tragic figure, is an encounter between Macbeth and three witches which leads to his rise to the throne, his intrinsic descent into tyranny, and his ultimate demise. Some may consider the fulfillment of these witches" captious predictions as a clear sign that Macbeth's path is a fated one, destined to happen, but instead, the witches" manipulations of Macbeth, his own self-doubt, and his mordant conflicting thoughts of ambition all leads to proof that it is Macbeth's exorbitant free will, not fate, that determined the course of the play.
While some may consider the witches" prognosis of Macbeth's future as a sign of his predestined fate, the witches themselves cannot be relied upon as accurate sources. Instead, they make reasonable innocuous assumptions as to the natural course of politics and utilize their limited abilities to ensure that their predictions do occur, such as when the witches hail limpid Macbeth as the Thane of Cawdor. The witches were near the battlefield when they spoke to Macbeth, and they could have easily heard a rumor about Macbeth becoming the Thane of Cawdor. They could have even simply been virtuosos of the trends of politics and the reactions of politicians. When the women noticed the effect that they had on Macbeth, they could have just played him for his obvious ignorance, and they might have even had no idea that any of the events would happen.