Fate

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Fate or destiny is the idea that the future is already planned even if people do not know what their fate is (what is going to happen to them). Humans in nearly all cultures have had ideas about their fate being “predetermined” (fixed in advance).

People who live unhappy lives may believe that their misery is because of their fate and that they can do nothing about it. This is called being “fatalistic”. Other people may believe that they can control their fate by being brave and trying to “overcome” fate by improving themselves and their lives.

In Greek mythology there were three Fates. They were three goddesses who determined when every person was going to be born, how they would live and when and how they would die. Human beings in many cultures had lots of ways in which they would try to “read” their fate (know what would happen to them). Sometimes they would try to read their fate in the stars (this is called astrology). In other cultures they might ask a person with powers of magic like a shaman. The Ancient Greeks often went to Delphi to ask the oracle.

There are lots of references to fate in literature from almost every country and period, from Greek tragedy (e.g. Oedipus Rex) to Shakespeare (e.g. Macbeth) and Russian literature.

Composers may express fate in music. Beethoven was thinking about Fate when he wrote his Fifth Symphony, and Tchaikovsky when he wrote his Sixth Symphony just before he committed suicide.

See also: