"[The epic] is still played out in every human heart and always will be."
from the blank verse version by Carole Satyamurti
The epic raises interesting questions about fate, while leaving its central concept of “dharma” as impossible to pin down as the British Constitution.
…Krishna, in persuading Arjuna to fight, suggests that, as a warrior, this is his ultimate duty – indeed, what he is born to do. In other words, accept “fate”. This suggests fate as determinism. But then, as Arjuna rightly argues, why should he act, since fate has already determined the end; to which Krishna counters that no one who is alive can help but act. Which suggests there is individual agency.
The Witches hail Macbeth, proclaiming “thou shalt be king hereafter.” Is Macbeth fearful of this prophecy because in it he sees a fate laid out before him? Or a fate he wants to create? And is he then trapped in this fate?
I first experienced this epic as stories told by my father at night, under the Nairobi sky. Suitably poetic, if cliched, image for this epic, which stretches across the cosmos – I’m thinking here of Roberto Calasto’s powerful image (in KA) of the lord of creation, Prajapati, stretched across the sky in lament because his sons have forsaken him…