Fate in Homer’s Odyssey Essay

Fate in Homer’s Odyssey Essay

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Humans, and sometimes immortals, blame gods for the ill fate of men until kleos is introduced to be a factor in the direction of fate, which leads to the realization by some that the individual’s intentions cause fate when given the ability to make their own choices.
Humans and gods accuse dieties of causing bad luck in the beginning of the novel. When Odysseus meets Elpenor in the Underworld, the shade tells him:
“‘Son of great Laertes,
Odysseus, master mariner and soldier,
bad luck shadowed me, and no kindly power;
ignoble death I drank with so much wine’” (XI, 64-67)
Elpenor blames his shameful death on “bad luck” and “no kindly power”, which means he died because he had no control over the harsh gods. The shade holds the gods accountable, which shows that he, like other humans, often blames the gods. Elpenor’s misfortune, however, occured after he intoxicated himself with wine. Odysseus blames the gods for fate when he tells Polyphemos who he is.
“‘We are from Troy, Akhaians, blown off course
by shifting gales on the Great South Sea;
homeward bound, but taking routes and ways
uncommon; so the will of Zeus would have it’” (IX, 281-284).
Odysseus clearly blames his current misfortunes on Zeus, that reminds the reader how Zeus complained in the first book how mortals always blamed the gods. The way Odysseus says “so the will of Zeus would have it” has a cynical tone, as if Odysseus is annoyed by the god’s will. Zeus blames Poseidon for the fate of Odysseus when he talks to Athena.
“‘Naturally, the god, after the blinding-
mind you, he does not kill the man;
he only buffets him away from home.
But come now, we are all at leisure here,
let us take up this matter of his return,
that he may sail. Posei...


... middle of paper ...


...ss men were warned about their behaviors. The phrase “with chill and burdened breast” emphasized his realization that he will pay and knows he cannot escape it. However, the other suitors did not realize the consequences of their actions. “For they imagined as they wished-that it was a wild shot, / an unintended killing-fools, not to comprehend / they were already in the grip of death’”(XXII, 33-35). By using the term “imagined,” Homer tries to give the reader the feeling that they knew what was happening, but didn’t wish to believe they did anything wrong. The phrase “grip of death” may also give a feeling of helplessness, as in at this moment, they are doomed.
Mortals and immortals blame the gods for bad luck until kleos is heralded to affect fate, after which some realize the course of destiny is also determined by their desires when given a chance at free will.

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