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Did Shakespeare believe that our lives are governed by fate?

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enotes | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM via web

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Did Shakespeare believe that our lives are governed by fate?

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enotes | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM (Answer #1)

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In many of the plays one or more characters ascribe the events that take place to the work of Fortune or Fate. In addition, the triumph or defeat of certain major characters, Antony, Cleopatra, and (Augustus) Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra for example, is interpreted as a matter of personal destiny, guided by the stars and other cosmic forces. But as powerful as Fortune often proves in Shakespeare's plays, Fate typically works through individual personalities that are disposed toward following along an appointed path that they could leave. Shakespeare's individual can be drawn along toward a destiny; they have the power to make decisions that alter the course. For Macbeth to become Scotland's king and then killed like a vicious beast by Macduff is foretold by the three witches, but it is his (and his wife's) decisions that seal their doom.

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