Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
Free Will of Macbeth Shakespeare
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. (Witches, IV, I, 94)
Everyone has control over something. Whether it be themselves, someone else, or a possession, they have control. Throughout the play Macbeth, written by Shakespeare, Macbeth is controlled by three witches and also his wife. Macbeth has a free will to choose to do what he wants but he frequently chooses to do what others want or predict of him. In Act I, Scene iii, Macbeth can t withhold himself from knowing more of what the witches have to predict. He says to them, Stay, you imperfect speakers. Tell me more. (73) This is where the witches begin to gain control over Macbeth, we know this because he doesn t want them to leave and wants to know more about what he will become. When Macbeth finds out what the witches have predicted of him is coming true, he becomes stunned. He then begins to think of how he will be king, and all the prophecies will be won. Macbeth makes an aside saying, Two truths are told as happy prologues to the swelling act of the imperial theme. (I, iii, 140) Here Macbeth is falling into the trap of the witches by realizing that he will be able to conquer the quest of becoming king. It seems like Macbeth is someone who always gets what he wants, this greed that he has causes a problem. He wants to become king, but others stand in his way, such as Banquo, Fleance, and Macduff. He says in Act I, Scene iv, to Banquo, If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir. (157) He knows that he has done nothing to become Thane of Glamis, so he doesn t have to do anything to become king. At this point it seems that Macbeth feels it is destiny for him to be king but it soon changes to his free will. Like stated before, Macbeth thought he had done nothing to become Thane of Glamis but, he had. Macbeth had chopped the king of Norway s head off during battle. This shows that in order for Macbeth to have gained Thane of Glamis he must kill. When he realizes this, he comes to find out that he will have to get rid of those in his way by killing them to become king. This is when he switches from destiny to free will. The prophecies then become a mind game to him and he struggles with his conscious between doing right and wrong. He then strides to make what the witches prophesized true. Lady Macbeth first takes control over her husband in Act I, Scene v. She tells Macbeth that they will kill Duncan during his sleep. She says to Macbeth, O, never shall sun that morrow see! He that s coming must be provided for and you shall put this night s great business into my dispatch (71-80) Macbeth agrees with his wife when he answers back to her, This shows that he will proceed with the killing because he wants to become king and will do anything he can to make the prophecies true. Macbeth has a strong intuition to kill, and nothing will stop him. It s like he is under a spell from the witches and has to make what they predicted come true. He knows that killing is wrong but he wants to be king. During a soliloquy, Macbeth states, I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o erleaps itself and falls on th other (I, vii, 25) Macbeth knows that killing is wrong but, his wanting to be king is so strong that he will do anything to become king. Here he is under total control by the witches, we know this because he will not give up his quest to become king. Another example of Macbeth being controlled is when Macbeth says that he will go through with the plan and kill Duncan. He says, I go, and it is done. (II, I, 75) He can t stop himself from wanting to be king, his greed is so strong that he chooses to do wrong and kills Duncan. Here Macbeth is struggling with himself to choose between right and wrong, his evil thoughts overpower his goodness and he chooses to kill. Macbeth goes on to realize that killing Duncan will not get him to be king and that he, Macbeth, still has others in his way. Banquo is the next person Macbeth plans to kill. He chooses to do this on his own, no one tells him to do so. Macbeth hires three murderers to kill Banquo so he can become king. Macbeth says to the murderers in Act III, Scene I, Whose execution takes your enemy off, grapples you to the heart and love of us, who wear our health but sickly in his life, which in his death were perfect. (117-120) Macbeth is sure that he is going to be king and to be that he feels that he must kill Banquo. He hires two murderers to kill him because their friendship was too close. It s stated here that Macbeth loves Banquo but, he is alive and in his way of becoming king so he must be killed. The witches here control Macbeth because he can t stop himself from killing; he wants to make the prophecies true and feels that to become king he has to kill. Macbeth returns to the witches in Act IV, Scene I, wanting to know more of his future. He felt he needed to go back to make sure his kingship was secure. This shows that the witches have control over him because he went back to them. Macbeth keeps asking to know more, But one word more. (84) The witches tell him what to look out for in four apparitions, this tells Macbeth that everything he has done will come back to him. Our parents used to tell us that if we did something wrong it would come back to us ten times worse, this is what will happen to Macbeth. The apparitions show for Macbeth to beware of Macduff. When Macbeth realizes it he decides to kill more people. He chooses to go to Macduff s castle and kill his wife, family, and everyone around so that he will upset Macduff. The castle of Macduff I will surprise, seize upon Fife, give to th edge o th sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line. (IV, I, 171-174) This shows that what the witches just told him in the apparitions has already taken control of him. Macbeth chooses to kill Macduff because the witches said to watch out for him. If the witches would have never told him to watch out for Macduff he would not have decided to kill him. The play Macbeth is a play about killings and greed. Macbeth, after the witches prophesize his future and becoming king, decides to kill to get to the position of king. The witches have control over Macbeth throughout the play. Macbeth follows his conscious in choosing to do wrong. He struggles at times between right and wrong but, because of what the witches have told him he decides to do wrong, so he can take a step higher in his journey up the ladder to king.