Who (or what?) is at fault in Macbeth?

The issue of fault is always an interesting one, as one can ultimately blame a wide assortment of people for something if they dig deep enough. How can anything bad be a human’s fault when God created humans? Who created God? Isn’t anything and everything God’s fault?

In the story of Macbeth, the issue of fault is made extremely unclear by murky circumstances surrounding his motivation to become power-hungry. The argument of fate vs. free will (which is ultimately what this is) is on that comes with many misconceptions. Free will is chaos theory- everything in the universe is random, and we can try and project what will happen, but that will always come with a degree of uncertainty. Nothing has a purpose, nothing affects anything else, and everything is random when you break it down far enough.

Fate is a more interesting angle. Fate would say that one could predict most of what will happen, but to be able to do that one would have to be some sort of an all-knowing being outside of the universe. The idea being that people will follow certain patterns throughout life that will make them quite predictable, and that man is preconditioned to behave in a certain way in certain situations.

I would call Macbeth a victim of fate, as he at no point did anything “wrong.” Told by three mysterious witches that he would become the kind, Macbeth is uneasy with this idea at first, as he is a normal person that is simply responding like anyone would to that given situation. As events begin to unfold that make it clear it will not be a clean ascent to king, Macbeth becomes conflicted. As a conscious human being, he is wary at the thought of killing other people for his own personal gain. It is his intrinsic need to become more powerful, held by most men, that ultimately causes him to run amok with greed and power. Walter White started out simply trying to provide for his family, but ultimately that oh-so-predictable greed kicked in, and the next thing we knew, Ozymandias’ statue had crumbled.

Macbeth, Walter White, Ozymandias, and any other great man who ultimately fell victim to their own greed are not people who made poor choices. They are someone who was placed in a situation where their most basic animal-like instincts kicked in, and because we are simply well-evolved animals, they took over.

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