Study Guide

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Fate and Free Will

By C.S. Lewis

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Fate and Free Will

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader dramatizes the eternal conflict between fate and free will, which is of particular relevance in Christian theology. Many characters have destinies that have followed them from birth, while others show foreknowledge of the future or accept that certain events are fated or certain to occur. Yet the book also clearly values the rights of individuals to make independent choices and choose their own paths. Both major and minor characters are given opportunities to decide who they will be and what they will do. Even so, there seems to be a power working behind the scenes that already knows how they will choose.

Questions About Fate and Free Will

  1. Describe the prophecy that was spoken over Reepicheep's cradle when he was a baby. Does Reepicheep have any control over his fate?
  2. What happens when Caspian tries to escape from his responsibilities as King of Narnia? How do his friends explain the difference between being a king and being a "private person"?
  3. Does the ending of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader rely on fate because destiny is a significant theme in the book or because the plot is weak and needs to be forced into resolution? Do the actions that Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace take in the final chapter seem natural?

Chew on This

The plot of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is hindered by the narrative's constant reliance on fate and Aslan's ordering of events.

Eustace Scrubb is the only character in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader who strongly exercises free will and resists his fate, and he is punished and vilified for doing so.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Fate and Free Will Study Group

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