Shakespeare meant for us to believe that the three witches predicted Macbeth and Banquo’s fate. During the time period when the play was written, people would have believed this as well. In present day America, however, it is harder to convince people of the concept of fate. Macbeth’s fate did come true, he became king and Banquo’s heirs will become king as well. No matter what actions the two took, the prophecies would have been true. The second set of prophecies that the witches told were true, but spoken in a kind of riddle. Such that on the surface it appeared to Macbeth that he was safe, but in reality he wasn't. This was completely out of his control.
Macbeth and Banquo's fate could be argued as prediction or the power of suggestion. During the time in which this play was written it could be said Shakespeare wanted the public to interpret the play as the witches predicting their fates. But it could also be argued that Macbeth had complete control over his actions and was merely suggested by outside forces to execute his actions. I believe that this could be up for interpretation based on the time period the play is read in. Whether one believes more in witches and the extraordinary or whether one believes in moral reasoning it depends on the viewpoint of the reader.
The witches actually predicting Macbeth and Banquo's fate or it being a power of suggestion, are two very likely scenarios. It could easily go both ways. Banquo is a very cautious character. He avoids equivocators and does not look too into things. He takes life as is and goes with it. Macbeth on the other hand, looks far too into things and is conflicted by equivocators. When the witches give him the first 3 prophecies, "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!/ All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!/ All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter! (1.3.51-53)" Macbeth makes little motion that he has had the thought of becoming king before but he has had the thought. After this it seems that Macbeth has become obsessed with the idea and when his wife finds out she joins in as well. The witches never stated that Macbeth will kill Duncan or Banquo so it is more likely that it is the power of suggestion for Macbeth. For Banquo, the witches state his prophecy as "Lesser than Macbeth and greater./ Not so happy, yet much happier./ Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none. (1.3.68-70)" Which all of these become true for Banquo. So it goes both ways because with Macbeth, it is the power of suggestion that pushes him to make his choices and have detrimental actions, but Banquo on the other hand pays no mind to the prophecies and it still becomes true.
In the time that this play was written, people were more open-minded about the concept of witchcraft. Many people in this time period where called out for "witchcraft", or claimed to be aware of some mystical element. So, to a reader of Shakepeare's time, this prophecy was the straight truth and the witches are completly legitimate. Which is how William Shakepeare would have wanted them to think, he wants the reader to beileve that the two nobles were given a glimpse of their future. William Shakepeare intended for the prediction to have the audience guessing what Macbeth would do with this new information. Banquo is more skeptical about the witches and the prophecy, and he doesn't seem to trust that the witches are telling them the truth of if they are just crazy.
When Macbeth was written, the idea of witchcraft was more openly accepted and believed, allowing for it to be believed that the witches predicted these prophecies. Now, in the present day, witchcraft is less acknowledged and believed. With this being said it is important to note that while the witches "predicted" Macbeth's fates, they wouldn't have happened if it were not for Macbeth's actions both positive and negative. Macbeth was rewarded the title of Thane of Cawdor, because of his hard work and success in battle. He was ultimately defeated as a result of his sins like murdering Duncan and continuing to plot evil deeds to gain as much power as possible. In conclusion, I believe that Macbeth's fate was a result of his actions influenced by the witches.