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Fate vs. Free Will

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by

Cheryl Gu

on 8 June 2015

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Transcript of Fate vs. Free Will

Greek Tragedies
Greek tragedies focus on cosmic rather than individual significance. Greek tragedies rarely explore the psychological motivation for the character's actions.


Tragic Heroes
Aristotle defined tragic heroes as characters who are victim to tragedy because of his actions or personality.
Fate In Shakespeare's Plays
"O, I am fortune's fool!"

-Romeo
(Romeo and Juliet, 3.1.139)
"...A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife."
- (Romeo and Juliet, Prologue, 1)
Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
To have thee crown'd withal.

-Lady Macbeth
(Macbeth, 1.5.27)
Does Shakespeare (in Julius Caesar) show a world where man controls his own destiny or where fate controls all events?
Does Shakespeare follow this "pattern" in Julius Caesar?
Shakespeare explores motivation
Brutus Inner Conflict
Are the characters in Julius Caesar "Tragic Heroes"?
Brutus conspirators choice to assassinate
Caesar personality flaw; his pride.
"I have not known when his affections swayed/More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof/That lowliness is young ambition's ladder/Wereto the climber upward turns his face;/But when he once attains the upmost round,/He then unto the ladder turns his back,/Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees”(2.1. 20-26)
“ And since the quarrel/ Will bear no colour for the thing he is,/ Fashion it thus: that what he is, augmented,/ Would run to these and these extremities." (2.1. 28-31)
“ I would not, Cassius, yet I love him well.” (1.2 82)


Omens
Omens are not omens until men interpret them as omens.
EVIDENCE OF FREEWILL
EVIDENCE OF FREEWILL
EVIDENCE OF FATE
Warnings
Assuming omens are real and not just man's misinterpretation, in Julius Caesar, omens are used as warnings.
EVIDENCE OF FREEWILL
AND FATE
EVIDENCE OF FREEWILL
Real Omens
Omens always accurately foreshadowed the events to come. Omens did not just foreshadow, but also triggered events that led up to the character's intended fate.
Fate or Freewill?
Fate:

Omens are always accurate: Fate's grand scheme?
Freewill:

Motivations
Tragic Heroes
Omens as misinterpretations
Omens as warnings
“ But men may construe things after their fashion/ Clean from the purpose of the things themselves”

-Cicero ( 1.3. 34-35)
Examples:
- Idles of March
- The Storm
"For I believe they are portentous things Unto the climate that they point upon,"

-Casca (1.3.31)
Warnings imply that the characters are given the opportunity to alter their fates.
Fate or Freewill?
Julius Caesar
Men interpret events as omens and excerise their free will to try and alter their foreshadowed fates.
"Why, now, blow wind, swell billow and swim bark!/ The storm is up, and all is on the hazard"

- Cassius ( 5.1. 68-69)

Superstitions and beliefs:
Witchcraft
Black cats
Ladders
Spilling salt and pepper
Spitting into fire
Fate in Shakespeare's Time
“Most of the people in Shakespeare’s time believed in astrology, the philosophy that a person’s life was partly determined by the stars and the planets” (Bouchard).
"The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars/But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

-Cassius (1.2.140)
Freewill


"What can be avoided/Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods?"

- Caesar (2.2.27)
William Shakespeare believed that one's fate is determined in part by fatal flaw, or by one's own errors. Shakespeare went against the conventional thought of fate by suggesting that one’s fate can be changed by one’s actions (free will).
Fate
Oedipus
"Two mighty eagles fell, and there they perch'd,/Gorging and feeding from our soldiers' hands;"

- Cassius ( 5.1. 80-81)
Thank You For Watching
Citations
"Roman Life And Culture." Roman Life And Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.
"Sermones Del Tiempo Durante El Año." Sermones Del Tiempo Durante El Año. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.
"William Shakespeare : ROMEO AND JULIET - Activities to Print - Cartoon - Cinema - Cliparts - Information - Interactive Activites - Lesson Plans - Mind Map - Music - Powerpoint Presentation - Study Guides - Videos - Webquests - ESL Resources." William Shakespeare : ROMEO AND JULIET - Activities to Print - Cartoon - Cinema - Cliparts - Information - Interactive Activites - Lesson Plans - Mind Map - Music - Powerpoint Presentation - Study Guides - Videos - Webquests - ESL Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.
"POSTMODERN DECONSTRUCTION MADHOUSE: What Is MACBETH About?" POSTMODERN DECONSTRUCTION MADHOUSE: What Is MACBETH About? N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.
"Elizabethan Superstitions." Elizabethan Superstitions. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.
"Agamemnon, The Choephori, and The Eumenides By Aeschylus Critical Essay Aristotle on Tragedy." Aristotle on Tragedy. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.
A Presentation By:
Katharine Lee, Kelly Kwan,

Monica Feng, and Cheryl Gu

Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Cambridge UP, 2014. Print.

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