Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Not everything that happens to a person comes from outside forces. Different than other Shakespearean characters such as Hamlet, Macbeth’s tragedy occurs not because of his fate but solely because of himself. In other words, Macbeth causes this entire tragedy and is the most responsible for all the bloody killings that occur in Macbeth. Even though the Weird Sisters and his wife are instigators, if Macbeth himself did not already have the ambition or intention to be king, he would not listen to them so easily. Unfortunately, Macbeth’s own dark ambitions lead to the death of many people as well as his own just to gain and preserve his king status.
Macbeth first becomes the Thane of Cawdor for his heroism, and after he and Banquo are approached by the Weird Sisters, his ambition is already ignited that if he can become Thane, he can also become king; this has nothing to do with Lady Macbeth. Therefore, when Macbeth tells his wife, she becomes only an instigator or supporter of his ambition, but she is not the reason he goes through with his plans to kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth merely supports and promotes an idea that is already in Macbeth’s mind, and he does not dismiss her proposal. The bloody events that occur are all because Macbeth carries out his ambition that he created in his mind right after he meets the Weird Sisters and before he even spoke to Lady Macbeth, when he says, “Come what may. / Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
/ Let us toward the king!” (Act Scene Line)Therefore, she cannot possibly be responsible for his actions. Macbeth is then the one who kills Duncan while Duncan is sleeping causing a bloody scene. Then, all the bloody events that follow are what Macbeth does to maintain his ambition and desire for power. Again, Lady Macbeth is not responsible for Macbeth’s bloody actions, and either is fate. Macbeth has a wild ambition after he learns more of what he believes to be his predictions from the Weird Sisters. However, it is not fate that makes Macbeth do what he does; it is Macbeth’s own desire to maintain his power once he becomes king and to pass that power down to his offspring in the future.
For instance, it is only Macbeth who hears the Weird Sisters and finds out that his close friend Banquo’s children will be kings. This is evident when Banquo says, “Why fear what sounds so fair? If you can look into the seeds of time. / And say which grain will grow and which will not, / Then speak to me of what MY life shall be!” Then, later, Macbeth reaffirms to Banquo, “Your children shall be kings!” (ACT, SCENE, LINE #) This confuses Macbeth and ignites him to not only hire murderers to kill Banquo but also orders them to stab Banquo’s son, Fleance, the assumed heir to the throne. There is no evidence to even suggest that the Weird Sisters are correct except when Macbeth takes their predictions as truth and puts them into action. He makes them true. If it was fate, these events would just happen naturally and not be forced by Macbeth himself.
Therefore, he does all this with the purpose to keep his throne and his status as king. To his surprise, Banquo’s son survives which leads to his anxiety and even more tyranny. Ultimately, Macbeth was responsible for himself and his actions; not his wife or the witches. So, again, at the beginning of the play while he is in battle, he does encounter the three witches and they do tell him about his tremendous glories in the future. The first witch says, “All hail Macbeth, Thane of Glamis!” Then, the second witch says, “All hail Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor!” Finally, the third witch addresses him as “All hail Macbeth, who shall one day be king!” (Act, Scene, Line) Macbeth hesitates at first because he does not believe in them, but when Ross approaches him and indicates that he will become Thane of Cawdor right after the witches predict it, he believes in it. Therefore, the witches do highly influence Macbeth, but it is really his choice and his natural inclinations for glory to carry out specific plans to gain and maintain he throne once he obtains it.
For instance, the sisters also tell Banquo that his sons will be kings, but Banquo does not decide to do anything to prove his “fate” to be true. In other words, Banquo does not make things happen the way that Macbeth does which proves that Macbeth takes control of what he believes to be his right. However, it is not fate at all. Fate is something decided by the gods or is predetermined; it is not decided by a person. Macbeth murders because of the ambitious thought that was already there which was to be king; he writes a letter to Lady Macbeth about what he has been told which then prompts all the events that follow that are planned and executed by Macbeth. All in all, Macbeth is responsible for all the bloody events that occur in the play.
Lady Macbeth is not responsible because she was merely an instigator but did not force Macbeth to physically go through with the murder of Duncan. Then, the witches are also not responsible because Macbeth already had the notion to obtain more glory after his success in battle and Banquo did not take them as seriously as Macbeth. Also, the Weird Sisters do not predict the fate of Macbeth. The sisters tell him his future but do not control his behavior. It is Macbeth’s own vaulting ambition that leads him to kill for the throne and maintain his legacy.