Fate vs. Destiny

When I was first introduced to what “tragedy” is in class, it was hard for me (at first) to comprehend why it was defined as such, where the “protagonist is fated to be confronted by various forces beyond his control and is ultimately outdone by them”. I realized later that the reason why I had such a difficult time fully understanding the definition was possibly because of the notion I grew up with, from watching movies and TV shows and innocently digesting whatever “morals” it was trying to put forth, of how a protagonist is capable of changing their “destiny” as long as they put forth the right actions.  After referring to sources available via Google[1], I learned that in “common” conversation, the two subjects are thought to be essentially the same and is often treated as so, but since they study of the two subjects is known to be quite esoteric, if one was capable of studying and scrutinizing the difference between the two in greater detail (and I’m not sure that I can myself be able to fully differentiate the two because of my lack of philosophical knowledge), the main difference may be that “fate” deals with a sense with uncontrollable and unforeseen forces due to “preordained course of your life that will occur because of or in spite of your actions”, while “destiny” provides the protagonist a chance to be involved in a “set of predetermined events within your life that [they can] take an active course in shaping”. To put in a broader sense, fate is destiny. As described by wikipedia, “Fate is used with regard to the finality of events as they have worked themselves out; and that same sense of finality, projected into the future to become the inevitability of events as they will work themselves out, is Destiny”. Therefore, fate is related to the unalterable events of the past, while destiny is related to the accumulation of these past events that project to create an almost certain future (that also still allows for possible changes to occur).This is evident even within our common conversation: “His calling is to become a lawyer” but as to whether or not he will actually become a lawyer still remains to be seen (depending on his actions). One other interesting fact is in how the word “fate” is derived from the word “fatality” or “fatalism”, which implies a sense of lack of choice, and the sense of inevitable “death”. Therefore, as we established earlier in the blog, fate is an outcome that results (and inevitably undoes the protagonist) from unseen and uncontrollable forces- interestingly enough, fate is also referred/represented to as gods in classical and European mythology; three goddesses dispensing fate, the “Fates” determined the events of the world through the mystic spinning of threads that represented individual human destinies (one goddess spun the thread of your life, the other measured its length, and the third would cut it when you were to die)- while destiny involves a willful participation in achieving an outcome that was directly related to oneself. Although one may not be able to fully be “in control” of the event in one’s life, destiny can still imply how one can still take part in the events, even if it is to only to start to get the ball rolling inexorably forward on the predetermined course of one’s life.


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