Fate, Morality and Free Will within Literature

Topics: Morality, Sociology, Ancient Greece Pages: 4 (1268 words) Published: November 27, 2013
Daniela Abbruzzese
Lewis Clayton
SOSC2560A: Ideology and Everyday Life
Wednesday, 27 November 2012

Fate, Morality and Free Will within Literature

Tracing back to the primordial era, several ancient plays used the notions of morality, free will and fate. In several literary pieces there is an issue between the human preconception to fully assent fate and the natural desire to control destiny. In Oedipus Rex by Sophocle and Hamlet by William Shakespeare, it is shown that the matters of fate and free will always create a struggle for the individual’s control over his life. The main characters of both plays, Oedipus and Hamlet, are put into similar situations they can’t escape but it is ultimately their actions that led to different interpretations of the human condition. In The Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, philosopher Kant discusses the development of human nature as rational and the concepts of morality. In Oepidus Rex, fate overrides free will; the harder Oedipus tried to escape fate, the more he thrusts forth into his own fate. On the other hand, in Hamlet, the human will is powerful. Lastly, social structures, such as the ancient Greek civilization, could impact one’s role within society as well as affect their individual freedom. To begin with, in the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant explains that each and every individual is indeed free and logical. He explains that morality requires us to separate our logic from our nature and act only on the origin of reasonable beliefs. Rational ideas are thoughts that make sense to all rational beings; they are universal. For instance, there is a big difference between what is moral for Hamlet versus what is expected of him by society. Nevertheless, Hamlet keeps his sense of individuality and does not conform to society’s expectations. By the same token, one’s opinion may not always be adequate but it is based on three notions: rational, absurd and freedom. In Hamlet, assumptions...

Cited: Kant, Immanuel. The Metaphysics of Morals. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. Print.
Shakespeare, William, and Harold Jenkins. Hamlet. London: Methuen, 1982. Print.
Sophocles, and R. D. Dawe. Oedipus Rex. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982. Print.
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