The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Fate and Free Will Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Oh dear," said Lucy. "Have I spoiled everything? Do you mean we would have gone on being friends if it hadn't been for this – and been really great friends – all our lives perhaps – and now we never shall."
"Child," said Aslan, "did I not explain to you once before that no one is ever told what would have happened?" (10.50-51)
We suspect that Aslan can't tell Lucy (or anyone else) "what would have happened" because there is no such thing. Even though Lucy and the others make their own choices in life, Aslan knows what they're going to do, so there's only one possible future. It's a classic case of free will and predestination coming together – they seem to conflict, and yet Aslan makes them work together.
"Can't again," said Caspian. "What do you mean?"
"If it please your Majesty, we mean shall not," said Reepicheep with a very low bow. "You are the King of Narnia. You break faith with all your subjects, and especially with Trumpkin, if you do not return. You shall not please yourself with adventures as if you were a private person. And if your Majesty will not hear reason, it will be the truest loyalty of every man on board to follow me in disarming and binding you till you come to your senses." (16.37-38)
Caspian's "fate" is his role. His responsibilities as King of Narnia circumscribe his possible actions and lock him in to one particular way of living. In some ways, he is the least free of anyone in the book.
"It's no good," he said. "I might as well have behaved decently for all the good I did with my temper and swagger. Aslan has spoken to me. [. . .] It was terrible – his eyes. Not that he was at all rough with me – only a bit stern at first. But it was terrible all the same. And he said – he said – oh, I can't bear it. The worst thing he could have said. You're to go on – Reep and Edmund, and Lucy, and Eustace; and I'm to go back. Alone. And at once. And what is the good of anything?" (16.48)
When Caspian resists the ordering of events that Aslan has intended, Aslan steps in and gives him direct and specific instructions. We sort of think this is cheating: shouldn't Aslan be leading Caspian toward the right decisions with gentle suggestions? Maybe this is a small flaw in the novel's plot.