Fate and Destiny the Ongoing Debate About Free Will Essay

1541 WordsFeb 12, 20137 Pages
Fate and Destiny The Ongoing Debate About Free Will Hamlet and Orestes are both compelled by fate, masquerading as their sense of duty, to avenge their fathers' murders. Although actions committed by a sense of duty are usually well intended and not malicious, they can still often result in disaster. These men act as if their actions and decisions are their own and that they are acting of their own free will. However, it appears that Shakespeare may have been influenced by Aeschylus and the Greek concept of fate and that fate will ultimately prevail. In "The Libation Bearers" by Aeschylus, the chorus introduces the concept of fate at the very beginning of the play. They state, "Fate and the gods brought down their yoke […] and the will breaks, we kneel at their command - our masters right or wrong […] her senseless fate, " (Aeschylus 74-81). Orestes and Hamlet both have been stripped of their patrimony as a result of their fathers' murders and their mothers' hasty remarriages. Therefore, they not only are moved to revenge for the sake of their fathers, but also for themselves so they may regain the property and titles that should be theirs. Even the demure and forgotten Electra wants revenge and prays that the gods will approve the act of vengeance she hope will come. She prays to her father's grave, "Mother has pawned us for a husband, Aegisthus" (Aeschylus, 139) so even this powerless daughter is pushed aside. Each man's mother has sold her son out, whether intentionally or not, for their new husbands. The young men are thrown aside, forgotten. It is their destiny that they come back fighting to reclaim their patrimony. Societal influences and religious beliefs both play crucial parts in the actions of Orestes and Hamlet, albeit in somewhat different ways. Both societies condemn the murder of a blood relative and expect justice to be served.

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