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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. Eventually, a man’s whole life may be traced to his very first action or decision. By stating someone’s fate as determined by their actions or decisions, fate is unbreakable, what has been done will control the present, and ultimately the future. The present is controlled by the past so that no one may escape their past decisions or actions. The underlying concept of fate is that all man are not born equal, so that fate is the limitations or abilities placed upon him.
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. An immortal’s life may not be judged because they haven’t and won’t die. The gods are able to manipulate mortals fate but not their own directly. A god may inspire a mortal to do or create something that might indirectly affect the god’s fate. This reinforces the concept that no one may escape his or her actions or decisions.
In The Iliad, the concept that all mortals share the same destiny, that is that everyone dies, introduces the values of honor and courage, and other principles of what is right and what is wrong. Courage is demonstrated unselfishness and the desire to do what is right no matter what the cost. Since all men die a man who is willing to sacrifice himself for what he believes is right shows supreme faith and moral character as well as the admirable trait of putting something else above their own life. Bravery or courage isn’t necessarily aggressiveness or rage; for instance, all of Achilles actions are referred to in the beginning as "the rage of Achilles".
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