Do Witches control Macbeth's future or does he control his own future (according to the Act 1 & 2 of Macbeth)?

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth controls his own future as he chooses to interpret the prophesies of the witches to suit his own desires. Their first greeting to him in Act 1 Scene iii contains three addresses - "Thane of Glamis...Thane of Cawdor...King hereafter." Macbeth is fascinated by the fact they seem to bestow two new titles upon him: Cawdor and King. The audience already knows that Macbeth has been selected for the title of Cawdor - although Macbeth and Banquo have not received the news. The questionable greeting is the reference to King. Macbeth chooses to believe that the witches' words are a prediction, and indeed acts with his wife to "make" the prophesy correct. He does not acknowledge that the Cawdor title was gained without direct action to facilitate it. Macbeth has a choice to continue to live his life as a "worthy" thane and be rewarded as circumstance dictates. He chooses to take the witches' words literally.  

Macbeth is cruelly punished for his actions as he falls "foul" of the later prophesies which he misinterprets. He believes that the witched forsee he is invincible against Macduff when they give a clear indication of the details of Macbeth's downfall at the hands of Macduff.

Macbeth, like Banquo, has the option to leave fate to run its course. He is tempted by the witches but, as the tragic convention dictates, he fashions his own demise.