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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


by Homer

The Odyssey Fate and Free Will Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Book.Line)

Quote #22

‘Poor wretches, what evil has come on you? Your heads and faces and the knees underneath you are shrouded in night and darkness; a sound of wailing has broken out, your cheeks are covered with tears, and the walls bleed, and the fine supporting pillars. All the forecourt is huddled with ghosts, the yard is full of them as they flock down to the underworld and the darkness. The sun has perished out of the sky, and a foul mist has come over.’ So he spoke, and all of them laughed happily at him. (20.351-358)

The seer predicts damnation and darkness for the suitors for their treachery. He turns out, like most seers, to be right. What the heck is the rest of the suitors’ problem? We definitely wouldn’t be laughing in their place!

Quote #23

[Antinoös] was to be the first to get a taste of the arrow from the hands of blameless Odysseus, to whom he now paid attention as he sat in Odysseus' halls and encouraged all his companions. (21.98-100)

Notice how we get the construction "was to be." Who decided that Antinoös was going to be the first? Was it the gods? or Fate? Clearly, someone knew ahead of time.

Quote #24

And now Athene waved the aegis, that blights humanity, from high aloft on the roof, and all their wits were bewildered; and they stampeded about the hall, like a herd of cattle set upon and driven wild by the darting horse fly […]. (22.297-300)

Athene finally reveals what we all already know: that she will fight by Odysseus’s side. This was destined to happen and the sign bound to show, so the only question was when. Certain events, we see, are predetermined, but the execution and timing of those events are left to choice.

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