Macbeth Driven By Fate

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Macbeth is Driven by Fate The reader finds in William Shakespeare's Macbeth that fate is not a force which one can resist easily on one's own - especially if one is already inclined to ambition. In Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy, Northrop Frye stresses the connection between the witches and fate: The successful ruler is a combination of nature and fortune, de jure and de facto power. He steers his course by the tiller of an immediate past and by the stars of an immediate future. [. . .] It is this synchronizing of nature and fortune that soothsayers study, and that the witches in Macbeth know something about. We call it fate, which over-simplifies it. (88-89) In his book, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, H. S. Wilson explains the stand taken by Macbeth in his relationship with fate: He pits himself no merely against the threat of hell but also against the enmity of "Fate" (as represented in the prophecies of the Weird Sisters): come, Fate, into the list, And champion me to th' utterance. He brags to his wife: But let the frame of tings disjoint, both the worlds suffer, Ere we will eat our meal in fear [. . .]. (70-71) In Everybody's Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack explains that the witches are associated with fate: Except in one phrase (I.3.6) and in the stage directions, the play always refers to the witches as weyard - or weyward - sisters. Both spellings are variations of weird, which in Shakespeare's time did not mean "freakish," but "fateful" - having to do with the determination of destinies. Shakespeare had met with such creatures in Holinshed, who regularly refers to the supernatural agents with whom Macbeth has dealings as "the three sisters," or "the three weird sisters," i.e., the three Fates.

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