Tragedy of Fate [Schicksalstragödie]

(2551 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Since ancient Greece the concept of fate has played a key role in the lives of people, in the history of ideas, and in tragedies that portray the clash between external powers and the will of individual protagonists. To prove that humans are not in control, the Greeks used four different terms to signify various aspects of fate: ananke (necessity), heimarmene (causation), moira (the assigned lot), and tyche (chance; see Goethe, “Urworte. Orphisch” [“Primal Words. Orphic”, 1820]). Accordingly, the connotation of “fate” (Latin fatum) varies within a spectrum that reaches from a religious power via a chain of mechanical causation to a lot assigned at birth. Fate can constrain the …

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Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Tragedy of Fate [Schicksalstragödie]". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 April 2009
[, accessed 30 November 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Literary Genres and Modes
  2. Comparative Literature, Reception, Influences