Explain the role of fate and determinism in human life. Just a short answer please.

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have included two links below to help you explore these concepts further. However, this is a very broad question. Are you asking about the way that fate and determinism have been presented as forces impinging upon our lives in literature? At the end of the day people's responses are going to vary to this question depending on whether they even believe in fate and determinism in the first place. However, if we look at literature, there are a number of examples of works that suggest that fate and determinism are very powerful forces in our lives.

Romeo and Juliet is perhaps a great place to start, as it presents us with, famously, two "star cross'd lovers" whose destiny is to die tragically in the impossible attempt to gain their happy ending. The number of times that fate, chance or fortune is mentioned in this play indicates how important fate is to the action. The way in which fate is shown to be a force that operates on us without any thought of our wishes or desires is clearly presented in this play, as it is in a novel like Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, where Tess is shown to be little more than a plaything of the gods. In addition, you might like to consider Greek drama and plays such as Oedipus Rex, that present us with another image of a character who desperately tries to escape the inevitable events that have been decreed.

In all of these works, fate and determinism are presented as impersonal forces that act on us without any regard whatsoever for our desires, dreams and personal control. So often in literature, characters' lives are dictated for them, often creating a tragic counterpoint when we consider the dreams and hopes of those individual characters. As to whether such a force as fate really exists, that is each person's opinon.