Free Will And Fate In Homer's Odyssey

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The Mighty Clash of Free Will and Fate in the Odyssey
The debate of free will and fate has come up in many great literary works like in ancient epics such as Gilgamesh, the Iliad, and the Odyssey, written circa eighth century. Free will and fate both play a large role in these epic poems. Man faces the challenges of predetermined fate set by the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology in every Greek epic, while juggling their own free will. In the Odyssey by Homer, readers see these elements throughout the epic through the epic hero of Odysseus. According to Zeus, the supreme god of all Greek mythology, the epic hero Odysseus is destined to return back to Ithaca, where his son Telemachus and his wife Penelope await for him, no matter what challenges arise on his journey back home. Odysseus faces several challenges on his
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However, how he handles each challenge determines how long it takes him to return home. In book nine of the Odyssey, Odysseus shares the story of his journey with Queen Arete and King Alkinoos of the island of Scheria. He explains to them what happened on the island of the Cyclops. Odysseus convinces twelve of his strongest men to go ashore the island with him to gather supplies. Within one of the Cyclops’ cave, one of his men exclaims, “Let’s make away with the cheeses then come back – hurry, drive the lambs and kids from the pins to our swift ship, put out to sea at once! But I would not give way—“ (Homer, IX. 253-256). Here, Odysseus exercises his free will. He decides they are to remain in the cave and wait for the Cyclops to return and reward them with gifts, as dictates in Greek culture. By not leaving earlier with the supplies they found, Odysseus damns not only himself but also his men. Polyphemus, the Cyclops, does not welcome Odysseus and his men, like a typical host would, and he eats four out of twelve of Odysseus’s
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