FATE IN THE
Red figure pot, Rape of Cassandra 430
A PHILOSOPHICAL OR LITERARY DEVICE?
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
To develop themes of fate in the Iliad.
Students will discuss the nature of fate.
Students will evaluate Homers use of fate in the Iliad.
Students will identify key passages & quotes to illustrate their opinions.
Students will discuss the exam questions from a past paper.
AN EXAM QUESTION TO CONSIDER:
• In the Iliad fate makes all the actions of
mortal and immortal characters pointless.
WHAT IS FATE?
• What is your definition of fate?
• Do you believe in fate?
• Can fate and freewill co-exist?
• Can fate and morality co-exist?
• If fate can be altered is it still fate?
FATE IN MYTHOLOGY
• In theory everyone believed that your fate was
controlled by the three weavers called ‘the fates’.
• You died when your thread was cut.
• You had an allotted fate and could not exceed it.
• Gods are bound by fate with the exception of Zeus
whose relationship is more complicated.
ZEUS AND FATE
• Book 4 lines 8-19 suggest Troy’s fate is not fixed.
• Zeus is goading his wife but if fate is totally fixed why
does it have an effect?
• Is this a literary device to create tension?
• If Zeus had made peace what other ‘fates’ would
have been broken?
• The Death of
Figure pot 550
ZEUS AND FATE 2
1. Zeus won’t intervene to protect his own son,
2. In Book 15 lines 62-70 Sarpedon’s fate is fixed.
3. However in Book 16 lines 434 – 440 Zeus debates
saving his life.
4. Zeus never actually changes a prophesised fate.
SOME KEY POINT IN BOOKS 1-6
• Zeus and Thetis Book 1 lines 522 – 528.
• The Greeks almost go home Book 2 line 156.
• Athene enforces fate Book 5 line 673.
• Hector and fate Book 6 lines 487- 494.
Find other 2 other examples in the text that you think
would help you answer the exam question.
SOME OF MY THOUGHTS ON FATE
• Fate is immutable but we can choose how we met it.
• Zeus has the power to change fate but is aware that
the consequences are not worth it.
• Mortals always seem to act as if their fate can be
• There is no consistent depiction of fate.