How do fate, free will, and destiny relate to each other in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist?Are there any examples of a connection in the book?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These three themes are taught to Santiago by Melchizedek, the King of Salem, at the beginning of the book. First, Melchizedek tells him that fate is the greatest lie that everyone believes in life. The lie is, "that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate" (18). Later, the king teaches Santiago that he has discovered his Personal Legend, which can be compared to what we call destiny today. After someone knows their potential, or their destiny, then they have the opportunity to choose to set out and achieve that goal, or they can choose to remain where they are and live comfortably in what they already know and are accustomed to doing. Sadly, as we grow from childhood to adulthood, we start to doubt ourselves and believe that we can't achieve our full potential; or, as Melkizedek says, "A mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend" (21). The best quote about destiny is on page 22 where the king says, "To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation." The basic message is that a person needs to realize their potential or destiny and do everything they can to achieve it.