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Macbeth Fate and Free Will Quotes

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Quote #7

MACBETH Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I draw. Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going; And such an instrument I was to use. (2.1.1)

"The dagger made me do it" isn't a defense we've heard before, but it seems to work for Macbeth. Look at that "Come, let me clutch thee": it sounds a lot like he doesn't have a choice.

Quote #8

MACBETH If't be so, For Banquo's issue have I fil'd my mind, For them the gracious Duncan have I murther'd, Put rancors in the vessel of my peace Only for them, and mine eternal jewel Given to the common enemy of man, To make them kings -the seed of Banquo kings! Rather than so, come, Fate, into the list, And champion me to the utterance! (3.1.8)

Well, this is interesting. Here, Macbeth is calling fate to his aid, asking it to "champion" him, or fight for him, in the "lists," or the tournament grounds. This doesn't sound like a fate-or-free-will situation; it sounds like a fate-and-free-will deal.

Quote #9

THIRD APPARITION Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him. Descends MACBETH That will never be Who can impress the forest, bid the tree Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good! Rebellion's head, rise never till the wood Of Birnam rise, and our high-placed Macbeth Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath To time and mortal custom. (4.1.1)

When Macbeth comes knocking on the three witches' doors again, he wants another glimpse into his future. They give him riddles. (Thanks, gals.) But look at those riddles: they're designed so Macbeth interprets them to mean that he's safe, which obviously affects his decision-making. Is his death fate? Or is just savvy manipulation?

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