Character and Fate

 

I found in an old notebook last night a quote I’d written down months ago. “A man’s character is his fate.” Heraclitus.

And a woman’s too, I suppose. When I write about my characters on the page, I am bound by the dictates of who they are. There are some things that Eleanor of Aquitaine simply would never do. Sign away her birthright, for example.  And there are other things  that she would always do. Keep her focus on the future, maintain her sense of self.

Eleanor of Aquitaine is a good example of how character is fate. She would never make peace simply to appease someone else, simply to make her life easier. And she would never start a war that she wasn’t certain she could win. Of course, she did lose, often. But the reason we still remember her over 800 years later is that she never gave up. Even when she was forced to submit to her second husband’s rule, during all those years when she was locked away from her people, her lands and her son, she was still herself. Her character was her fate. Her strength was her fate. And as fate would have it, her favorite son eventually became king and she walked out of her prison ready to do battle with the world again.

We are the actions we take. Our character directs those actions. Those actions build our fate.

 

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