Essay on Sophocles ' The Iliad And The Time

1013 Words Dec 3rd, 2015 5 Pages
During the times of the Classical Greeks, culture began to abandon the principle of fate, and, at the same time, moved toward a firm belief in free will. In The Iliad, which Homer wrote around 750 BCE ("Reading the Iliad." Reading the Iliad. Web.), the author suggested that the people of the time had no control over their actions; rather, the gods controlled everything. In contrast, in Oedipus Rex, which Sophocles wrote in 429 B.C. ("Background for Antigone." Background for Antigone. Web.), many characters make choices of their own free will, despite knowing what their fate is. The shift in beliefs happened concurrently between the time during which Homer wrote The Iliad and the time during which Sophocles wrote Oedipus Rex.
In Homer’s The Iliad, fate constantly seems to be present, waiting for its next victim. The characters recognize fate as the controlling force. For example, Homer wrote in the opening sentence, “And the will of Zeus was moving towards its end” (The Iliad, Book 1, Line 6). The opening phrase reflects the belief that humans are not in control of their own lives. All events in one’s life are predetermined by the gods. “The will of Zeus” (The Iliad, Book 1, Line 6) sets the stage for the whole story of the Iliad; all the events that occur are occurring because Zeus wants them to occur. The events are fated to occur. There is no room for free will. In addition, many of the characters are aware of their fates. Not only are they aware of their fates,…

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