Shakespeare on Fate, Destiny and the Powerlessness of Man

Our wills and fates do so contrary run that our devices still are overthrown“But, orderly to end where I begun,
Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.”

(Hamlet, act 3, sc. 2)

Tips for Use.  An eternal truth rendered in a way that will make you be original when you express it. A good answer too, to justify an unexpected course of events.
When man-primate stood on his hind legs, the skill he acquired came at significant cost. It was the dawn of the reflective mind. In turn, the reflective mind caused a weakening or rather the extinction of some perceptive faculties and also of some other forms of sociability that allowed a greater autonomy of the individual. The function of memory– though we still don’t know how it works – changed the perception of how we transition from the past to the present and from the present to the great unknown of the future. At this point the figure of death appeared on our mental screen, and with it the tremendous necessity that our existence should have a meaning. We cannot exist without a theme that may organize our otherwise disorderly crowding of thoughts. The next logical step was the idea of planning and of the assumed power of our wills. Only to discover, as in the lines quoted, that the power of our will is grossly exaggerated, as Mark Twain would say. A truth hardly acknowledged, let alone learned, by sundry politicians, Wall Street fraudsters and Pentagon fanatics.
A reminder for those interested in mythology. The illustration shows the three Parcae, namely,
Clotho, who appeared as a maiden and spun the thread of life. Her name meant The Spinner,
Lachesis, who appeared as a matron and measured the thread of life. She was the Caster of lots,
Atropos, who cut the thread of life, and appeared as a crone. Her name meant, Unbending Though the smallest of the three, she is the most terrible.
They were the daughters of Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx.  Some say that Zeus could intervene in their decisions and that they could be manipulated, but in most myths they were eternal and more powerful than any of the Gods. Another story says they are the parthenogenic daughters of Ananke.  In Delphi, they only worshiped Clotho and Atropos (for unknown reasons).
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In the play. The player king sums up the conclusions and ends the play-within-the-play. Hamlet has organized the play to check what effects the production has on King Claudius, who is in the audience. The plot of the play accurately mirrors how Hamlet’s father was assassinated.

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