Essay PreviewMore ↓
Fate and Destiny in The Iliad
The Iliad portrays fate and destiny as supreme and ultimate forces. The Iliad presents the question of who or what is finally responsible for a man's destiny, yet the answers to this question are not quite clear. In many instances, it seems that man has no control over his fate and destiny, but at other points, it seems as if a man's fate lies in the consequences of his actions and decisions. Therefore, The Iliad reveals a man sometimes controls his destiny.
In The Iliad the god's fate is controlled much in the same way as a mortal's, except for one major difference, the immortals cannot die and therefore do not have a destiny. Immortal's lives may not be judged because they have not and will not die. The gods are able to manipulate mortal's fate but not their own directly. In Book I, the plague is a result of the upsetting of Apollo. The gods produce situations over trivial things, such as forgetting a sacrifice or, in this case, insulting Chryses. The gods have temper tantrums, and they switch sides quickly and without consideration. One day they protect the Achaeans, the nextt day the Trojans. The gods play favorites with no sense at all of any of the moral or political issues involved in the war. Zeus does what he can, but the others behave as though they were better than all the rest, in more ways than one. They have no compassion for their own kind, and their concern for man is even less. Occasionally, the gods will show concern for one of their favorites when he is having a bad time, but it is very rare. This attitude is the result of their own vindictiveness against humanity and man's own tendency to irrational behavior or carelessness in worshipping the gods. But more often than not, men find themselves fighting a force beyond their control.
The opening statement of The Iliad contains the phrase "the will of Zeus," and this reflects the Greek's belief that man is in the grip of forces that he cannot control. It is also another way of saying that all things are fated and out of the hands of man. Book XXII shows that the gods control the fates of man:
But once they reached the springs for the fourth time,
How to Cite this Page
"Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Homer's Iliad." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Jul 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Fate and Destiny in Homer’s Iliad The Iliad portrays fate and destiny as a supreme and ultimate force that is decided by each man’s actions and decisions. A man’s fate lies in the consequences of his actions and decisions. A man indirectly controls his destiny by his actions and decisions. One action or decision has a consequence that leads to another action or decision. A man is born with a web of many predetermined fates and one or more destinies. A man’s decisions control which course of fate he takes so that he indirectly controls his destiny.Since all mortals die, destiny is what you have done with the fates you have been dealt, and where you have taken your life.... [tags: Iliad essays]
774 words (2.2 pages)
- Destiny, Fate and Free Will in Homer's Odyssey Fate seems to defy humanity at every turn. A man may have his life planned out to the last second, but then some random force intervenes and he dies the second after he has completed his life plan. Some believe in fate, believing that our lives are predetermined from the moment we are born. Other people believe that everything is random, the result of some god rolling the dice in a universal poker game. Still other people believe that each and every person is in total control of his or her destiny, every step of the way. Who is to say which viewpoint is false? Every culture has a unique perception of the role of fate in our lives, an... [tags: Homer, Odyssey Essays]
2296 words (6.6 pages)
- Abstract 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.... [tags: Mythology]
1018 words (2.9 pages)
- Sophocles once said, “Fate has terrible power. You cannot escape it by wealth or war. No fort will keep it out, no ships outrun it.” When pondering life, one often stumbles upon the principles of fate and free will. Do we as humans really have full control of our life and our actions. Do we have a predestined time to die or is our last breath purely a result of the choices we make. Perhaps Sophocles is correct and there is an element of fate in the universe that ultimately determines what we say, what we do, who we meet, and what trials and tribulations come our way.... [tags: fate, free will, destruction]
664 words (1.9 pages)
- Achiles’ Shield as an Element of Contradistinction in the Iliad The Iliad is an epic of death. It is a tale of conflict, battle, agony, and horrific mutilation. Honor and glory are attained through warfare. The great shield of Achiles stands out in this context because it depicts the glories of an orderly, functioning, productive civilization. This depiction of life stands in stark contrast to the scenes of death that constitute a large portion of the narrative. An examination of the shield of Achiles in Homer’s Iliad reveals many ideas in conflict: love and honor, the pleasures of life versus a heroic death, free will and destiny.... [tags: Literature Art War Papers]
3979 words (11.4 pages)
- Homer's Iliad The Iliad is an epic of death. It is a tale of conflict, batle, agony, and horific mutilation. Honor and glory are atained through warfare. The great shield of Achiles stands out in this context because it depicts the glories of an orderly, functioning, productive civilization. This depiction of life stands in stark contrast to the scenes of death that constitute a large portion of the narative. An examination of the shield of Achiles in Homer’s Iliad reveals many ideas in conflict: love and honor, the pleasures of life versus a heroic death, free wil and destiny.... [tags: Art Tool of Warfare Papers]
3970 words (11.3 pages)
- A Comparison of Aneas of Aeneid and Turnus of Iliad The subtlety in the differences between Aneas and Turnus, reflect the subtlety in the differences between the Aeneid and the Iliad. Although both characters are devout and noble, Aneas does not possess the ardent passion of Turnus. Unlike Turnus, Aneas is able to place his beliefs in the fated establishment of Latium before his personal interests. Although Turnus is not a bad person, the gods favor Aneas in their schemes. The roles of Aneas and Turnus are reversed as the Aeneid progresses. The erasure of Aneas' free will accounts for his triumph and success.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1178 words (3.4 pages)
- Oedipus the King: Free Will or Fate. A common debate that still rages today is whether we as a species have free will or if some divine source, some call it fate, controls our destiny. The same debate applies to Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus. Does Oedipus control his actions, or are they predetermined by the gods. It’s that question that makes Oedipus a classic, and many different people think many different things. With all the oracles and talk of prophecies, its obvious that there is some divine intervention in Oedipus.... [tags: Destiny, Fate, Free Will, Free Choice]
617 words (1.8 pages)
- Fate vs. Free-Will in Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) In Oedipus the King, was it the concept of fate or free will of man that decided the outcome of the play? Both points of view have a strong support. In Ancient Greece, fate was considered to be a part of life. Every aspect of life depended and was based upon fate (Nagle 100). Sophocles took a direct standpoint on the entire concept of free will. Mankind has free will and can alone decide how their life turns out. Regarding prophecies and oracles, mankind has the ability alone to control their lives. Fate and free will both decide the turnout of Oedipus the King.... [tags: Oedipus Rex Destiny Fate Free Will Choice]
1538 words (4.4 pages)
- Fate Webster defines fate as a “ a power thought to control all events and impossible to resist” “a persons destiny.” This would imply that fate has an over whelming power over the mind. This thing called fate is able to control a person and that person has no ability to change it. Its been proven time and time again that the human mind can over come any obstacle. An asset to the mind is a persons will. With the combination of a person’s mind and their will to decide their own destiny this thing called fate can be over come.... [tags: Fate Destiny Essays]
442 words (1.3 pages)
then Father Zeus held out his sacred golden scales:
in them he placed two fates of death that lays men low -
one for Achilles, one for Hector breaker of horses -
and gripping the beam mid-haft the Father raised it high
and down went Hector's day of doom, dragging him down
to the strong House of Death. (22 . 248-54)
In the Iliad, the characters constantly refer to their own and others' final destiny and fate. In Book I, Thetis, Achilles' mother, says, "Doomed to a short life, you have so little time. / And not only short, now, but filled with heartbreak too, / more than all other men alive - doomed twice over" (1 . 496-98).
Fate has given Achilles a short life, but later, in accordance with the theory that men control their destiny and fate by their actions, Achilles chooses the short life with glory over a long life without glory. At this point, a man's choice becomes his fate. In Book XIX, Hera gives Achilles' horse Roan Beauty voice, and it says:
Yes! We will save your life - this time too -
master, mighty Achilles! But the day of death
already hovers near, and we are not to blame
but a great god is and the strong force of fate. (19 . 483-86)
This statement is in accordance with the theory that men are not in control of their destinies and, in this case, Achilles soon must die through no fault of theirs. Destiny wills it, just as it was Apollo who slew Patroclus. They prophesize that a man and a god will put an end to Achilles' life. In Book XXI, Achilles' refers to his own fate:
The son of a great man, the mother who gave me life a deathless goddess. But even for me, I tell you, death and the strong force of fate are waiting. There will come a dawn or sunset or high noon when a man will take my life in battle too - flinging a spear perhaps or whipping a deadly arrow off his bow. (21 . 122-28)
This statement foreshadows Achilles' fall in the end, for he dies from getting shot in the heel by Paris' bow, guided by Apollo. It seems that his fate is set and that he cannot change it, therefore he accepts it. At the same time, he may choose to perform an action that could alter his fate but never his ultimate destiny, which is to die.
The Iliad presents an interesting viewpoint on life. Whether or not a man's fate or destiny is controlled by his actions or that by some outside force, is left to the reader. The extent of human will is given by the guardians of destiny, while at the same time binding humans by the firm laws of fate. Therefore destiny is at once blind and full of meaning. The paradox is that throughout the poem there are impressions of meaningless death and destruction all in the context of the unfolding "will of Zeus." So it may be that the gods do control fate and destiny, but at the same time, the actions of men can also affect their own fate and destiny.