Iliad Vs Epictetus

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Whose Hand Holds Fate There are many ways to overcome the calamities we face in life, Homer’s Iliad and Epictetus’ Handbook present two approaches for these obstacles. Epictetus teaches that we are, as humans, in control of whether or not our life goes well. Conversely, the Iliad shows us that our fate is at the mercy of forces outside of ourselves. I find Epictetus’ theory to be a more cogent plan for responding to hardship. I found The Handbook of Epictetus to hold valuable ideas about suffering and how to rise above in a favorable manner. Epictetus says that it is all a matter of judgment. If we are able to change our judgment of something, and spin it in a positive light, then your life will go well. “Do not seek to have events happen…show more content…
Epictetus writes, “What is yours is to play the assigned part well. But to chose it belongs to someone else.” (Epictetus, Handbook, pg. 16). This quote implies that even if we are not satisfied, we can make it so that we are. For example, let’s say you go to the store looking for a specific item that you believe is the ideal. However, when you get to the store they are sold out. Instead of wallowing in sorrow and self-pity you instead choose to buy a different model and make yourself believe that the model you now have is the best possible one and that there is no other situation that would be better. In the words of Epictetus, “If it is pleasing to the Gods this way, then let it happen this way.” (Epictetus, Handbook, pg.…show more content…
Epictetus’ attitude towards pain will allow you not to suffer. He writes, “You can be invincible if you do not enter any contest in which victory is not up to you.” (Epictetus, Handbook, pg. 16). So long as you look at pain in a positive light, and do not let it manifest, you will not have to suffer. We are exposed to quite the contrary near the end of The Iliad. “Two jars sit at the doorstep of Zeus, filled with gifts that he gives, one full of good things, the other of evil. If Zeus gives a man a mixture from both jars, sometimes life is good for him, sometimes not. But if all he gives you is from the jar of woe, you become a pariah, and hunger drives you over the bright earth, dishonored by gods and men.” (Homer, Iliad, 24:566-570). If Epictetus read this quotation he would have a lot to say to Homer. The idea of two jars implies that if you receive the “jar or woe” you will have no control over how your life goes, it will be bad no matter what. Epictetus in a way teaches that we have the power to make our own jar. Even if we are given the “jar of woe”, Epictetus believes that we have the power to alter our feelings towards its contents. Although we cannot change what it holds, by changing our opinion of it we are therefore not allowing it to control and ruin our

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