Honors English Essay #2 (Fate)
The concept of fate in the lives of men and woman is something that has been around for as long as history has been recorded. However it feels like fate works better as a tool for writers through the ages, than as a way to know the true path of people’s lives. Religion is something that has been interwoven with fate, however the concept can be too easily manipulated in the world for it to tell the story of an entire life. In the end, the only thing that all men and women are fated to do is die, and even that is not determined until the day that it happens.
In the two epics, Antigone and Beowulf, fate plays a major part in determining the events that happen to the two main roles of these stories, Antigone and Beowulf respectfully. They both go along with their actions, knowing that it is fate that has determined they must act in this manner, and that fate itself will determine whether they will succeed or fail. In both cases, even when they feel death will find them if they proceed on their current actions, they continue to move forward towards what they believe is their fated end. Overall these stories follow the fate of both Beowulf and Antigone, and their journey to the end.
At the start of Antigone, the new king Creon has declared the law that while Antigone’s brother Eteocles will be buried with honor for his defense of Thebes, however the other brother, Polynices will be left to rot in the field of battle for helping lead the siege of the city. Antigone discusses with her sister Ismene that she shall go and pay respects to her now dead brother, and give him the burial that she feels that he deserves. Her sister tries to persuade her otherwise, but Antigone claims she is going to follow her determined fate, not the law of some new king as her sister plans too. She proceeds to bury her brother, and afterwards is captured by soldiers and brought before Creon. She admits her “crime” quickly, stating that “my fate prompts no tears” showing that she has come to accept whatever may come next. She is sentenced to death for her resistance of the new king, and proceeds to commit suicide. Now while this may seem a way to control her own fate, in a way it shows her commitment to her fate, and not waiting for the death punishment of Creon. In this Antigone truly does follow her fate until her death.
For the second epic that uses the concepts of fate as a writing tool, the Beowulf is another good example. King Hrothgar of Denmark and his court have been under constant attack by the demon Grendal, and in the process, the story spreads to the warrior Beowulf. Feeling this creature would be a good challenge, Beowulf plans to ambush and kill Grendal by luring him back to the hall with another party. After Grendal attacks, Beowulf takes on the demon on unarmed, believing that fate has already decided a victor. In the end it is he who wins their conflict, and in the process rips the monster’s arm off. Through his deeds...