Fate In The Iliad

Fate In The Iliad – Assignment Help

The Iliad depicts fate and destiny in the highest and most powerful terms. Although the Iliad poses the question of who or what ultimately controls a man’s destiny and fate, the answers are not clear. While it appears that man does not have control over his destiny and fate in many cases, the Iliad reveals that a man’s destiny is determined by his choices and actions. The Iliad shows that a man can sometimes control his destiny.

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The Iliad describes how gods’ fates are controlled in much the same way that mortals’. However, immortals can’t die, so they don’t have a destiny. Because they are immortal, their lives will never be judged. Although gods can manipulate mortals’ fates, they cannot directly affect theirs. The upsetting of Apollo is the cause of the plague in Book I. Situations are created by the gods over trivialities, such as forgetting to offer a sacrifice, or insulting Chryses.

Temper tantrums are a hallmark of the gods. They switch sides quickly and with no consideration. They protect the Achaeans one day, and the Trojans the next. The gods are favorites and have no understanding of any moral or political issues that arise from the war. While Zeus does his best, the other gods behave as if they are better than the rest. They don’t have compassion for their own species, and they care less about man. Sometimes, the gods will care for a favorite when he’s having a hard time. But it is rare.


This is due to their vindictiveness towards humanity and man’s tendency to irrational behavior, or carelessness when worshipping the gods. Men find themselves in constant battle with forces beyond their control more often than they realize. The Iliad’s opening sentence contains “the will of Zeus,” which reflects the belief of the Greek that man is subject to forces he cannot control. This is another way to say that all things are determined and beyond the control of man. Book XXII demonstrates that Gods have control over the fates and actions of men.


Once they had reached the springs, Father Zeus raised his sacred golden scales. He placed two fates of death for men in them. Hector, the horse-breaker, was the first. The Father lifted the beam mid-haft and Hector’s day of doom fell, taking him to the House of Death. (22 . 222-284) In the Iliad the characters frequently refer to their fate and destiny. Thetis, Achilles’ mother, states in Book I that she is “Doomed” to a brief life because you have so few years.


“And not only was it short, but also filled with heartbreak, too / more than any other men alive – doomed twice” (1. 496-98). Achilles was given a short life by fate. However, Achilles later chooses to live a short life filled with glory over a long, unfulfilled life. This is the point where a man’s fate becomes his choice. In Book XIX Hera gives Achilles his horse Roan Beauty voice and it says: Yes! We will save you – and your life too – master, mighty Achilles.




The day of our death is near and we can’t blame the great gods and the powerful force of fate. (19 . 483-86). This statement is consistent with the theory of men not being in control of their destiny and Achilles must soon die due to no one’s fault. It will happen, just like Apollo did it to Patroclus. They predict that Achilles’ life will be ended by a man or a god. Book XXI describes Achilles’ fate. He is the son of a great man and the mother who gave my life, a goddess without end. But death and the strong force that is fate await me, I assure you.


A man will also take my life at the dawn, sunset or high noon, throwing a spear or whipping an arrow from his bow. (21 . 122-28) This statement is a foreshadowing of Achilles’ death in the end. He dies after being shot in the heel with Paris’ bow, directed by Apollo. His fate is already set, and he can’t change it. Therefore, he accepts it. He may also choose to change his destiny but not his ultimate fate, which is to die. The Iliad offers a fascinating perspective on life.


The reader will decide if a man’s destiny or fate is determined by his actions, or by an outside force. Guardians of destiny determine the extent of human will, binding people by the laws of fate. Thus destiny is both blind and full-of-meaning. It is paradoxical that the poem contains impressions of meaningless destruction and death, all within the context of the unfolding “will to Zeus.” It may be true that gods can control destiny and fate, but men’s actions can have an impact on their fate and destiny.

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