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Fate versus Free Will William Shakespeares Macbeth is a tragic play which details the rise and fall of King Macbeth of Scotland The tragic downfall of the hero Macbeth begins with the encounter between him and three witches who prophecy his rise to the throne his descent into tyranny and his ultimate demise Some may consider the fulfillment of these witches predictions as a clear sign that Macbeth is led by fate destined to do as the weird sisters foretell However the witches interactions with Macbeth his own self-doubt and conflicting thought and his self-realizing ambition show that it is free-will - and not fate - that determined the course of Shakespeares play While some Bloom included hold to the belief that the witches predictions lead to Macbeths fate the witches themselves cannot be relied upon as accurate oracles Instead they make logical assumptions as to the natural course of politics and make the most of their limited abilities to ensure that their predictions come to pass This is first seen after the witches hail Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor Macbeth and Banquo upon learning of the previous thanes fate from the messenger both marveled at the witches apparent ability of prophecy even though Macbeth had already been named Thane of Cawdor This influences the two men into believing that their other prophecies will come to pass This in turn spurred Macbeth to action which caused him to fulfill - through his own free will though influenced by the witches suggestions of a possible kingship - his own predictions The witches themselves possess no real power to ensure that their predictions come to pass This is seen during the witches conversation as the first witch relates the tale of the sailor whose boat she could not directly destroy but could only tempest-toss Act I iii 25 Thus the witches display this same kind of power to affect the course of events This shows that the
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