Free Will In Shakespeare's Macbeth

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The Norse word “wyrd”, which translates to fate, is applied to The Tragedy of Macbeth through the symbolic Weird Sisters. This definitions contradicts William Shakespeare’s and the Renaissance humanist’s beliefs in free will as opposed to fate. Shakespeare regarded free will as a human guarantee, but to what degree this freedom was utilized determines the fate of the individual. Despite the Weird Sisters’ prophecies and influence, Macbeth is in control of his fate throughout the drama. Evidence from the characters in Macbeth demonstrate Shakespeare’s belief that human beings have free will to choose their actions, but these decisions become their fate, and they often lead to their downfalls.

Shakespeare’s beliefs on the concept of free
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Lady Macbeth’s character undergoes a complete personality transformation by Act V. The anxiety she had always feared is enhanced as she sleepwalks and guiltily relives her actions. “Out, damned spot, out, I say!...Yet who would have the old man to have so much blood in him” (Act V, i, 25-30). Through her death, Shakespeare enhances his philosophy that she utilized her free will to make negative decision which led to a guilt-filled fate. Macbeth’s character had built up an arrogant personality because of Hecate’s and the other witches’ prophecies. “Bring me no more reports. Let them fly all. Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane. I cannot taint with fear...” (Act V, iii, 1-3). The climax of Macbeth’s arrogance descends dramatically as Lady Macbeth commits suicide, Macduff admits that he was technically not “born of a woman”, and the Birnam Wood advances in his direction. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth’s abilities to make choices that result in negative fates, support William Shakespeare's philosophical connection between free will and…show more content…
The weird sisters are symbols that appear throughout the five act play. The title “wyrd” contrasts with the norse translation of “fate”. Through other subtle elements, William Shakespeare enforces his philosophy that individuals have control over their fates because all human beings obtain free will. If the Renaissance humanists were to analyze Macbeth in deep detail, they could come to the conclusion that characters like Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had the conscience ability to make different choices, but their fears became their fates due to their
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