Essay on Fate and Free Will in Greek Mythologies

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In English literature and Greek mythologies fate and free will played colossal responsibilities in creating the characters in the legendary stories and plays. The Greek gods believed in fate and interventions, predictions of a life of an individual before and after birth which the individual has no control over their own destiny. Free will and fate comingle together, this is where a person can choose his own fate, choose his own destiny by the choices the individual will make in their lifetime. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of free will is the “freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior cause of divine intervention”. Fate and the gods who chose their destinies directed Gilgamesh, Oedipus and Achilles.


In the stories/plays and poems of Gilgamesh, Oedipus the King and Achilles in the Iliad, there are three main heroes who have their fate decided for them by the Gods. Each hero has had fate placed on them according to the god’s, however as fate is understood there is also the idea of free will. Gilgamesh is two-thirds god and one-third man, who feels as though he has no equal, Gilgamesh feels superior to all men until he meets Enkidu, a creation sent to stop Gilgamesh from his reckless and wild ways. Oedipus is the king of Thebes and his fate was prophecies by the blind soothsayer Tiresias in which he was to kill his father and marry his mother. In the poem the Iliad, Achilles was the hero that would win the war with Troy, the prophet Calchas predicted that Achilles would die at an early age. In all of the epics, each character had a destiny to full filled, blessed with extra ordinary powers and abilities, each had the a...

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... was when the Greek armies were trying to seize the city of Troy without the help of Achilles , the fight was relentless. With the unfortunate death of Achilles beloved companion and friend Patrolcus, Achilles entered the war with the city of Troy only to wind up killing his enemy, Hector. In all of the fates predicted, Achilles knew ahead of time what the outcome could possibly be, with this in mind, Achilles has the freewill of whether to engage in the war and lose his life. However, fate had been reveal prior to the killing of Hector, Achilles engaged in war with revenge on his mind and fulfilled the prophecies.


Lawall, Sarah, Mack, Maynard, the Norton anthology of World Literature, 2nd edition
"Achilles." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.

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