Fate And Free Will In Homer's The Odyssey

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Religion is a large part of modern life. It influences our belief system and values, as well as shapes who we are as human beings. However, most individuals decide upon and follow a belief system on a voluntary basis. Imagine not only being forced to follow a belief system, but having this system dominate your every action. This is the case for classic epic heroes, such as Oedipus, Odysseus, and Aeneas. This conflict inspires the theme of fate vs. free will in each of these classic epics. Although these characters have free will, they are not permitted to use it as an attempt to avoid what is inevitably destined for them. Therefore, each author establishes an interconnected relationship between fate and free will, which ultimately impacts the journey of each character. Homer’s The Odyssey depicts the story of Odysseus as he travels home following the Trojan War. Trouble frequently arises throughout his journey as the meddling of the gods often hinders his progress. Almost every action Odysseus takes is influenced by the gods in some way. This creates conflict between the function of fate and free will in Odysseus’ decision making. Thus, it is questioned whether Odysseus’ destiny is acquired through his own free will or through the actions of the gods. The audience is first introduced to Odysseus on Calypso’s island after the god Poseidon caused his ship to wreck on the coast, leaving him abandoned on the island. The audience quickly learns of Poseidon’s animosity towards
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