Free Will in Greek Mythology Analytical Essay by Nicky

Free Will in Greek Mythology
A look at predestination and free will in Greek mythology.
# 149469 | 722 words | 4 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Dec 18, 2011 in Literature (Greek and Roman) , Literature (Mythology)

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This paper examines how Greek mythology often considered the debate between predestination and free will. It gives the example of how a mythical character's immoral actions would lead to a cleverly derived punishment by the gods, suggesting that free will elicited consequences. Various myths are noted as examples of this. In particular, the paper notes the the three fates, the Moirai, women who hold the destiny of all mankind in their hands and their role in the Oedipus trilogy. The role of fate and predestination is further analyzed in the paper. The paper concludes by stating that if any lesson can be drawn from the treatment of this theme in Greek mythology, it is that the safest option is doing good, which can at least score some points with the fates.

From the Paper:

"Called the Moirai, a name that means parts, the three fates assigned each person his or her "share in the scheme of things" (Atsma, 2008, para. 1). Lead by Zeus, whom Atsma (2008) describes as the "god of fate," the three goddesses used a string to show the life of a man or woman. According to Saunders and A (2006), all the good and evil a person did in his or her life was woven into the string to determine his or her fate (para. 3). The goddesses of fate were ugly, old, and knew the future, as well as frequently pictured with signs of "dominion" (Atsma, 2008, para. 4). Each holding specific jobs--spinning, measuring, and cutting that thread--the goddesses determined the consequences of mens' actions. However, Astma (2008) points out that the fates did not necessarily direct a person's life. Instead, they determined the consequences of the actions that people freely undertook. Furthermore, while Zeus could always save someone from receiving his or her fate, the fates were also open to persuasion by humans and other goddesses. In the end, however, it was the fates decision to determine the consequences of a man's actions and other major events in his life, such as when he would die. Thus, the idea of the Morai combined predestination and free will to suggest that a person could choose the actions he or she would take, but was predestined to face the consequences of those choices."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Atsma, A.J. (2008). Moirai. Retrieved July 24, 2009, from
  • "Greek Mythology." (2008). Retrieved July 24, 2009, from
  • Saunders, C. & A, P. "Fates: The Three Greek Goddesses of Destiny and Fate." Retrieved July 24, 2009, from
  • Stephanides, D.M. (2009). Oedipus: The Tragedies. Retrieved July 24, 2009, from

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Free Will in Greek Mythology (2011, December 18) Retrieved April 06, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Free Will in Greek Mythology" 18 December 2011. Web. 06 April. 2020. <>