Essay on Peer Pressure in 'Macbeth'

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In society, individuals are constantly being told what to do by others. Many people grow up with direction from parents and peers telling them what they can and can not do. On the other hand, many people grow up being taught nothing, therefore figuring out everything by themselves. In the play “The Tragedy of Macbeth”, Shakesphere demonstrates the idea that when individuals experience significant events, it can alter their lives which leads to them determining their destinies.

Shakespeare's play tells us the story of a brave Scottish man named Macbeth who received a prophecy from three witches that he will become King of ​Scotland. His life ​demonstrates the damaging physical and psychological effects of guilt and paranoia after being persuaded by his wife to kill the King. Macbeth is then overcome with power which blurs his judgement causing him to ​see Banquo as a threat and has him murdered by two hired assassins. These are significant events in the play that cause Macbeth to cause damage to not only the Scottish empire but to maybe the characters' families. An example of this is when Macbeth kills the Mcduff family to cover up a part of King Duncan's murder, which in the end causes Mcduff to kill Macbeth. Macbeth is a victim of his desire which means he has free will in his actions.

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Macbeth has a mindset in which he knows the outcome of his future therefore he does nothing significant to change the outcome. The only thing he needed to do for his future to be the way he wanted it was to kill the King. He knows what needs to happen when he says 'If chance will have me King/Why chance may crown me/ Without my stir.' He knows that if his destiny is determined, he does not have to take any action at all for it to come true. The fact that he thinks before he acts shows that he has thought about what the witches have told him and decided to act on it to get what he wants and gain the power he craves. Macbeth is in control of his life and his destiny. The witches can predict it, but he is the one who can create action in his life. ​He repeatedly thinks of reasons why he should not perform the actions he does. He simply chooses to ignore his reasons. Macbeth says “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee; I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight?” (Act 2, Scene 1) which demonstrates how he is being tempted to take possession of the dagger and act on it.

In our society, things such as this happen every day. It may not be a dagger but it is very similar to the concept of peer pressure. Macbeth gives into this pressure and acts on it to once again gain the power he is longing for. Following the murder of Duncan, Macbeth's destiny was determined since he spent the rest of his life covering it up. Through Macbeth, Shakesphere demonstrates the idea that when individuals are exposed to compelling situations or incidents, it can develop their life into a whole new destiny and future. These situations are self-inflicted and even the smallest event can change your life completely, which is exactly what happened to Macbeth in the play. Macbeth’s ambition and greed got the best of him and he is now considered to be a tragic hero in the Shakesphere world and is an excellent example of how anyone can determine their destiny.


    1. Does Macbeth have free will in his actions? Why or why not? (Author Unknown, Date of publication Unknown)
    2. Shakesphere, William, 1606, The Tragedy of Macbeth
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Essay on Peer Pressure in ‘Macbeth’. (2024, February 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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