Tragedy of Fate [Schicksalstragödie] (2551 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay


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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 …

Citation: Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Tragedy of Fate [Schicksalstragödie]". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 April 2009 [, accessed 05 December 2022.]

5812 Tragedy of Fate [Schicksalstragödie] 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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