Destiny, Guilt And Acceptance In Macbeth

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a play that focuses on the protagonist’s willingness and ability to accept fate. Macbeth’s attitude towards the witches’ prophecies changes depending on whether he finds them to be accurate. When the prophecies predict that he’ll die and have no heirs after he becomes king, Macbeth tries to change fate. He has bloody methods and must confront or ignore his morality throughout the play. Macbeth’s guilt is reduced as his actions move from working towards fate to against it.

Macbeth may have thought about killing Duncan even before hearing from the Witches that he will be King, but it is clear that this was his first thought after hearing them. Although he often thinks about it, he does not acknowledge the crime. Macbeth wants to both fulfill his destiny and avoid it. He wants Banquo to “wink” at him. He is only prompted to act by the prophecies, not the actual deed. Even the idea of killing Duncan “doth fix [his]hair.” He is against the killing for a number of reasons, including that it disturbs the natural flow of things. As Duncan’s hosts and thegns, he has a strong objection to the act. Macbeth is afraid of his own fate, not because of moral qualms. Macbeth is afraid of his punishment for killing Duncan, a noble king. Cawdor’s fate also represents his potential on earth. Knowing that he could not escape divine punishment, he decided to stay away from the fate that was predicted by the three witches. He has to choose whether he wants to be a king or go to Heaven. He prefers the action, not the result. Lady Macbeth has convinced him.

Lady Macbeth is a tool of fate, and she does so without being prompted. She immediately invokes spirits that are prone to mortal thinking, putting herself in the category of the fate serving witches. She refers back to the witches’ prophecy by calling it “the all hail hereafter”, believing that what Macbeth believed could not be good or bad, was unambiguously good. Macbeth makes many protestations but she does not give in and answers them all. She makes him act by following destiny.

Macbeth’s guilt is overwhelming when he finally decides to murder Duncan. He imagines an airborne bloody dagger directing him toward Duncan’s house. He worries that the paving blocks will reveal his plans, he hears noises, he fears a lost relationship with God. The murderer “needed a blessing, with ‘Amen stuck in [his] mouth.” He’s done the deed. At this point, he’s lost all hope of being saved. After the murder, the drunken porter who thinks he is the gatekeeper to hell mocks Macbeth’s state. Macbeth constantly talks about Hell and anachronistically refers to an equivocator: “who committed Treason…yet had no equivocation for heaven.” He chose his fate and was carried to it by the witches. He has lost his way, and the guilt he feels is actually the fear of the possible consequences.

Sleep deprivation is the first of his consequences. Macbeth is deprived of peace of mind because of his lack of sleep. Sleep, though “innocent,” has many positive health benefits. As a result of his “murdering sleep”, he is forced to live in fear. Macbeth realizes that sleeping is “death’s fake” as it reminds him of his inability to experience a peaceful or happy death. Lady Macbeth scoffs at Macbeth’s fear, comparing the dead to pictures and the devil as “painted”.

Macbeth’s attempt to alter his destiny is not surprising. He realizes his damnation has been for nothing. The witches predicted that Banquo’s descendants would become kings. Not his. He fights against his earthly fate and not the one he will eventually face. This decision is a double-edged sword: the “blood” he has spilled will be the reason for his inability to regret it. Macbeth’s guilt is “the initiate fear that wants hard use” and will soon vanish once he has killed enough. His guilt will disappear as soon as he is done killing. In order to escape his fate, he kills and attempts to alter it. He freely decides to do something impossible. In the past, he tried to fulfill his destiny. Now, he makes it impossible.

Lady Macbeth reverses her attitudes to killing when she sees her husband change his mind about fate. Macbeth’s fight against fate has caused Lady Macbeth to turn on him. The murder was suggested by her and he gave reasons against it. But now, he is talking about killing. He ignores his objections. The murder is not acceptable to Lady Macbeth who believes in vindicating destiny. She does not fight fate, she accepts it. So, she is filled with fear and anxiety. It’s not about hell, but something bigger. A plot to undermine the natural order or God’s laws, like Duncan’s murder.

Macbeth is defeated in his efforts to bring about the death of Fleance, who will become king of Scotland. Fleance does not die. He is the future king. Banquo is killed, despite the witches’ predictions that he would never become king. Macbeth remembers this when he sees Banquo. He is most afraid that other guests may see it and realize that he did it. The witches will tell him about the fate he has chosen. He is ready to know “By the worst, the worst.” To learn that changing his destiny is futile, he will go along with the evil and take him further down its path.

At this point, he is willing to do anything in order to discover his fate. He will do anything to find out his fate. He wants the spirit to tell him the truth and not his weyard sisters. The witches cannot do this. He speaks directly with them. In his speech, he asks the spirits to tell him things, but the witches say he’s not allowed. He tries learning more about himself than he is capable of. He wishes that he hadn’t known the information he received when he demanded it. He had been told the answer by witches before, but now he has to look at a picture of Banquo and his descendants. Macbeth says that the sight “sears his eyeballs.” Macbeth then pretends he did not see it.

Macbeth now is blind to the fate that awaits him, and he is blind to guilt. Macbeth can only kill his son and wife, even though he orders Macduff’s murder. Macbeth is trying to change his fate by killing a woman, a young child, and even Banquo. Macbeth is not as vocal about his guilt in this case, nor does he express fear. He had already set out to change his fate and is now slowly realizing it’s impossible.

Macbeth, at the beginning Act V, believes so firmly in his invulnerability that he is almost deceived. Macbeth is apprehensive as soon as Birnam arrives in Dunsinane. Birnam’s arrival would be the proof that Macbeth was immoral. Fate mocks him, causing unlikely things to happen before he can change his destiny. Macbeth gives up on fighting when he realises he cannot alter his destiny.

Macbeth becomes aware of the grimness his destiny when Lady Macbeth kills herself. Lady Macbeth is a strong believer of prophecies. She has realized that her husband’s fate is bleak and has killed herself. Macbeth may be blinded to his own guilt, but Lady Macbeth sees it. The guilt she feels is not one of fear; if this were true, then she would have hardly committed suicide. Rather, it’s that of a simple inability to live despite the blood on your hands. She cannot accept the crimes that Macbeth and her (she blames Macbeth for the murders, but she was not involved in the killing of Duncan or Lady Macduff). Fate has stopped supporting Macbeth because he cannot accept his guilt. Lady Macbeth admitted to her sins and took her own life out of guilt. Macbeth, however, refused to surrender to Macduff in the end. Although he may realize that fighting his fate will be futile, he fights it anyway.

Macbeth accepts his guilt by choosing to fight Macduff. He fights the inevitable end fate has foretold. Macbeth is not going to consider Macbeth’s actions as coincidence. A man born without woman and a forest have moved. He must accept the fate that awaits him. Macbeth must face his fate. He doesn’t cry, but he is in hell at the end. Macbeth has combined his fight against fate with his fight against sin into a single fight, which he lost.

Macbeth’s struggle to achieve his destiny was one he couldn’t have lost. He could not win the battle. While his actions are insignificant on a grand scale, they are extremely important for the fate of Macbeth’s soul. Macbeth has no control over his destiny, which is why it’s not predetermined. Macbeth is the one who determines his ultimate fate, even if he may be crowned by chance.


  • makhiknapp

    Makhi is a 34 yo educational blogger who is passionate about writing and exploring new content ideas. She has a degree in English from the University of Utah and is currently working as a teacher in a public school in Utah. Makhi has been published in numerous online journals and has been featured on national television networks.



Makhi is a 34 yo educational blogger who is passionate about writing and exploring new content ideas. She has a degree in English from the University of Utah and is currently working as a teacher in a public school in Utah. Makhi has been published in numerous online journals and has been featured on national television networks.