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Is Macbeth responsible for his actions or is he manipulated by outside forces?

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Introduction

Is Macbeth responsible for his actions or is he manipulated by outside forces? There are two sides to this argument Yes it was his fault or no he was manipulated. I believe it was his own decision to do what he did. The ball got rolling when the three witches told Macbeth his future. They call him by the names of title; "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!" his current position, "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor" he has been given this position though he does not know this yet, and "All hail Macbeth! That shalt be King hereafter." So really the first two titles aren't really his future because they have already occurred, but Macbeth does not now his and when he finds out about being the thane of Cawdor he contemplates what truths they hold. The only actual prophesy that is a proper prophesy and comes true is about being king. And Macbeth believing that as the second prophesy was the truth wonders if 'being king' will come true as well. At this stage in the play we have not seen much of Macbeth's character; we have been lead to believe that he is virtuous and righteous, now his true nature ...read more.

Middle

He realises that he has reached a turning point that to go back is as long a journey as continuing forth. But instead of stopping or turning back he continues. This is only after a visit to the witches again. Here he is given what he asked for the so called 'future'. He is told to beware of Macduff. This is a partial truth because Macduff eventually kills Macbeth, but this becomes true because of what the witches then tell him, 'The power of man, for none of woman born Shall harm Macbeth.' 'Macbeth shall never be vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.' They are telling him half truths and in the way they are told to Macbeth they give him false confidence. So here Macbeth is again not manipulated but tricked, his own actions lead him to his own demise. Then immediately after the witches talk to Macbeth a guard enters as the witched disappear, but Macbeth thinks that the man must have seen the witches, when he didn't. This makes us wonder if this sighting of the witches is just Macbeth's mind playing tricks on him. ...read more.

Conclusion

In his haste he also helped a part in giving Banquo his prize, this may seem like Macbeth had the ambition to go out and achieve his goals but both futures come true in the end. So Macbeth, just to make sure he got what he wanted, killed and slaughtered whereas Banquo waited and his children got their prize. Banquo also chose not to tell his children that they would go on to be kings, maybe he did this because he knew that the witches were evil (Praise to James 1st again) and thought it was best to take it to his grave. This reflects very badly on Macbeth in that some who was also given their future got their future without the same killing and slaughter. I think this is undoubtedly the biggest piece of evidence that it was all Macbeth, that though he was shown the door he opened it. So, I can conclude that Macbeth was not a hopeless victim of manipulation. He was guided by the supernatural, but they did not tell him everything to do nor controlled every aspect of his life. Though the supernatural might play a part in Macbeth's life, he had choices that he made and he must take the consequences of these choices. Macbeth was simply shown the door out of his own choice did he open it. ...read more.

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