Conscience Demise Into Tyranny Essay

673 words - 3 pages

In Macbeth, Shakespeare presents his interpretation of individual control over self. Rather than suggest that life is dominated solely by predetermined destiny or free will, he proclaims that autonomous decisions ultimately lead to the same inevitable fate. Through the integration of witches and prophesies, Shakespeare develops the corruption of Macbeth to invoke the reader to question the role of human volition amid impending fate.
The corruption of Macbeth commences with his encounter with the witches. These witches and their foretelling of preordained fate nurture Macbeth’s inherent ambition, ultimately leading to his demise. Macbeth is immediately intrigued by his prophesies; “Stay, you imperfect speakers.” This new interest in becoming king begins to manifest in Macbeth’s most “black and deep desires." As time progresses, the determination to reign king overwhelms all reason and sympathy for the prosperity of the nation under the successful current ruler. Macbeth’s “vaulting ambition” ultimately leads to the murder of Duncan, his struggle against increasing guilt for the murder of “innocent sleep," and his eventual demise into “something wicked.” Additionally, his disarray over being given “a fruitless crown” results in the selfish murder of his once good friend, Banquo. However, it is important to note that this progression into madness is not credited to preordained fate but rather the product of human volition. While the witches did proclaim that Macbeth would become king, their prophesies lacked insight to the means of achievement. This void allows for conscience choice to shape the morality of the path to the attainment of these goals. Through the limited freedom of Macbeth to do as he pleases, Shakespeare attests that one assumes full responsibility for the course of his/her actions, thereby dismissing the claim that human responses are entirely submissive to the dominion of fate. The integration of the witches, therefore, does not serve to justify individual fallacies but to rather elucidate the value of human choice amid a preordained destiny.
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