25 November 2017
Free Will and Religion
Fate and free will plays a big role in a lot of religious texts. That’s because, in a way,
religion can strip a person of their free will. In The Aeneid the Gods determine the humans’ fate.
More specifically, seems to be calling all the shots. With Jupiter determining the humans fate, it
takes away their free will because whenever they attempt to make their own decisions against
his, they are somehow punished. Another text that fate and free will plays a big role in is Plato:
The Allegory of the Cave. It’s not as literal as it is in The Aeneid, it’s more of a representation in
this text. The Cave represents religion keeping people prisoners in a sense. They only see what's
shown to them.
In The Aeneid, there is a character named Aeneas and according to Jupiter, Aeneas's fate
is to establish a new Trojan race in Italy. There are other gods who don’t want this to happen,
like Juno. And unlike Aeneas, she is a god so she can tamper with fate without consequences.
She can’t change it because Jupiter is the main god in this story who controls fate. An example
of Juno tampering with fate is shown in the first book when starts a storm in attempt to kill the
Trojans, she states “Thrash your winds to fury, sink their warships, overwhelm them or break
them apart, scatter their crews, drown them all” ( 49) but Neptune stops the storm and puts the
ships back on track. This happens because Aeneas's fate is set and Juno knows this as she says
“Defeated, am I? Give up the fight? Powerless now to keep that trojan king from Italy. Ah but of
course- the fates bar my way” (48). She’s stating she knows that she can’t stop Aeneas and his
crew from reaching Italy because of fate. But if fate is determined by Jupiter, then Jupiter is the
one in control and it’s not really fate stopping her at all, It’s just Jupiter.
Aeneas is kept from doing what he wants by the fates, in other words, by the gods
because the gods are the ones that determine and control fate, thus stripping him of his free will.
In book two of The Aeneid, Aeneas and the rest of the Trojans try to settle in Crete instead of
going to Italy like his fate entails. This was Aeneas trying to implement free will, which turns out
badly because the gods don’t want that to happen. They want to be in control. To remind the
humans that they are to do what they are told, they are punished with death and tragedy. “Our
ships were no sooner hauled onto dry land, our young crewman busy with wedding, plowing
fresh soil; while I was drafting laws and assigning homes, when suddenly, no warning out of