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Destiny, Fate and Free Will in Homer’s Odyssey

Fate and Free Will in Homer’s Odyssey

When we look at Greek Mythology we often run into the gods of that era. Sometimes they are merely backdrops to the human element of the story but in stories such as The Odyssey the gods play a prominent if not vital role to the central themes of the story.

Fate has a place in the Greek world but its place is not the same as it is in other scenarios or worlds. It is important to understand the word before we discuss it. Fate as far as Greek mythology goes is not just fate. By most standards fate means that things occur for an unknown reason that no one has any control over. However, in the world of Greek Mythology fate does not just happen. The gods engineer fate and they interfere to make things happen that might not otherwise have happened. Since the players do not always know of the gods’ involvement, things may actually appear to be fate but in reality be engineered happenings.

Free will on the other hand is not engineered. It speaks to the concept of having full authority over one’s aspirations and ultimate direction. The key there is “ultimate.” The gods can make up the plan and choose the path, but the people had to walk it. Therefore, fate and free will are not mutually exclusive and they both go on throughout The Odyssey.

In The Odyssey life is one’s own responsibility; instead of leaving all things up to fate, the characters had a significant influence upon his or her own existence.

In The Odyssey the gods are responsible for controlling many aspects of where the story goes, but the people still have to choose to go. The gods in The Odyssey are who held Odysseus captive for over eight years. They were responsible for his capture in the first place and then refused to let him go for almost a decade. When they finally decided he should be allowed to find his way home they made it known to his captor Kalypso. However Odysseus still had to choose to leave. Kalypso tried to keep him by offering immortality. “You would stay here, and guard this house, and be immortal” (Homer 267). Odysseus could have stayed but he chose to go. Some say that the gods knew Odysseus would not stay and that is why they decided to let him go.

Free Essays on Terrorism: Europe’s Contempt Toward the U.S

September 11 and Europe’s Contempt Toward the U.S

Lest we forget the heroic resolve of our many European “allies,” the French surged forward into the fray last week. Well, perhaps “surging” isn’t quite the word, and the “fray” has become a meager affair as of late. Their token gesture to join the U.S. and Great Britain in orchestrating a Northern Alliance victory amounts to little more than tactical cowardice, a dashing display of minced words and foot-dragging that only the French seem capable of. However symbolic the gesture, the French and their European counterparts tend to deliver such offerings of goodwill sealed with the usual stamp of anti-Americanism.

The irritating Euro-superiority complex recently surfaced over the issue of extraditing captured terrorists to the United States. In September, Spanish authorities infiltrated the Soldiers of Allah, a radical Islamic group based in Madrid with links to al Qaeda. The operation led to 14 arrests of key al Qaeda operatives and shed new light on the financing of bin Laden’s operations preceding the September 11 attacks. Hundreds of millions of pesetas (i.e. millions of dollars) flowed through this unit of al Qaeda’s financial network. Despite this damning evidence, Spain still sniffs at the thought of extraditing the detainees to the U.S.

And what is the source of Spain’s moral indigestion? The “backward” American justice system, of course. After all, the U.S. still employs such barbaric anachronisms as the death penalty (and even worse, a solid majority of Americans seem to support it). As evidenced by the continual stalling of Spanish diplomats, the moral burden of any extradition to a country as primitive as the United States is simply too much for the collective Spanish conscience to bear. The fate of al Qaeda operatives must not be abandoned to the crude methods of American jurisprudence. Instead of rejecting such anti-Americanism, the 15 members of the European Union echoed Spain’s sentiments in their sanctimonious reports to the press.

The Bush administration’s establishment of military tribunals further inflamed the E.U.’s righteous indignation. Several countries kindly reminded the U.S. that sending the al Qaeda henchmen across the pond would violate the EU’s extradition ban against countries that use the death penalty. This was consistent with what seems to be the E.U.’s role of the meddling whiner, seizing some disputable moral high ground to voice complaints instead of solutions. Perhaps the most annoying aspect of most European indignation is its paternalistic tone, as if the Americans were still reckless colonies in need of a scolding.

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