Theme of Fate in Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Updated September 10, 2022

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Theme of Fate in Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse essay

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True enlightenment and success are abstract concepts that are difficult to perceive, and therefore, many are frightened to delve into this path towards their destiny. Hermann Hesse addresses this common notion and in turn, emphasizes that reaching one’s destiny and obtaining unvarnished happiness requires listening to one’s ‘inexplicable inner imperative. In the novel Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, he strives to establish the idea that fate is predetermined, but journeying with accordance of one’s inner voice can lead to achieving one’s fate.

The first example of Siddhartha choosing to follow his intellectual will can be seen at the beginning of the novel, where he decides to part with his father in order to pursue his fortune. He initially feels that there is ‘no joy I his own heart’ because he knows that his life at home with his family would not be enough to ‘fulfill’ him (Hesse 5). Hesse’s use of personification to describe Siddhartha’s heart not being ‘still’ and the metaphoric use of ‘seeds of discontent’, further signifies his need to explore and venture on his own, because otherwise, he will remain unhappy (Hesse).

Personification and metaphors give power to what is being compared, therefore the heart is the most important guiding force. His discontent, like a seed, is deeply planted inside of him. Siddhartha’s ‘inexplicable inner imperative’ is strong enough to influence his decision of leaving his family and old life behind, making his father realize that his soul ‘had already left him’ (Hesse 12). By doing this, Siddhartha is now free to explore what life has in store for him and he also has the opportunity to reach the ultimate goal of happiness.

When Siddhartha and his dear friend Govinda encounter the Illustrious One, the Buddha, his realization about the importance of journeying towards fate alone can be exemplified when Siddhartha chooses to split paths with his companion. Therefore, when Siddhartha is restless in his desire to fulfill himself, he listens to his own voice and decides to leave Govinda, urging him to stay with Gotama and ‘travel his path to the end’ in order to ‘find salvation’ (Hesse 30). After evaluating Gotama’s principles about attaining enlightenment, Siddhartha’s intrinsic intuition advises him to reach his destiny through experience because he wants to ‘reach the highest goal’, Nirvana, by ‘[his] own seeking’ (Hesse 33).

Siddhartha realizes that ‘going on his own way’ and listening to his ‘inexplicable inner imperative’ will lead him on the path free from ‘all teachers and all doctrines’ because traveling ‘alone’ through life’s hurdles is the only key to learning the clandestine secrets of tranquility and ultimately fate (Hesse 34). After all, Gotama a hears ‘a voice, a voice in his own heat’, he did not listen and learn from any ‘external command’, therefore Siddhartha must do the same in order to achieve his goal of satisfaction (Hesse 48). Hermann Hesse skillfully portrays the split between the intimate duo later in the novel rather than earlier, because it demonstrates the growth and development of each one of their instincts. Isolating the main character from the side character also allows for the story to focus on the protagonists’ development. ate is shown to be a vital driving force because, despite the duo’s intimacy, they manage to part ways so they can journey towards success.

Finally, Siddhartha’s deep-rooted voice makes him realize the need for moving on from his son, which allows him to reach his destiny of enlightenment. Once Kamala dies and her son is now left in Siddhartha’s custody, he obstinately refuses to acknowledge his ‘inexplicable inner imperative’. He loves his son with the ‘strongest and strangest passion’, and still thinks he could offer a future for him (Hesse 122). However, Vasudeva and the river help Siddhartha come to terms with his predestination. Siddhartha learns that he’s acting ‘foolish’, he should not force himself on [his son]’ (Hesse 126).

It’s Siddhartha’s fate to let his son venture out into the world himself, just as he did at the beginning of the novel. No one educated Siddhartha about the right decision in life, therefore the responsibility lies solely in the hands of his son. The split between father and son is destined because now Siddhartha is free to reach happiness after this self-discovery, and his son can do the same by ‘taking [his] waking slow’ and ‘feel[ing] fate which [he] cannot fear’ (Roethke), Siddhartha lets his fortune and his intrinsic moral compass guide him through life’s hurdles, finally resulting in the attainment of utter bliss and understanding about ‘everything that had ever been of value and holy in his life’ (152).

HUmans are characterized as unique individuals who tend to question their path and purpose in life. People are constantly trapped in a secular struggle of morality, unable to determine what course in life they should take. Hermann Hesse signifies that predestination is an intangible concept that must be accepted. By doing so and following one’s ‘inexplicable inner imperative’, one can achieve true happiness guided by fate.

Theme of Fate in Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse essay

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Theme of Fate in Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. (2021, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/theme-of-fate-in-siddhartha-by-hermann-hesse/


What does Siddhartha learn at the end of his journey?
Siddhartha realizes Buddhism will not give him the answers he needs . Sadly, he leaves Govinda behind and begins a search for the meaning of life, the achievement of which he feels will not be dependent on religious instruction.
What is the lesson of Siddhartha?
Along the journey, Siddhartha becomes part of a sacred tribe and learns the value of stillness, breath, and fasting . The Samana way teaches Siddhartha a deeper connection with all living beings and creatures – feeling at peace with the process of birth and death, just like the cycle of life.
What is the main theme of Siddhartha?
SUMMARY: The theme of the novel is the search for self-realization by a young Brahman, Siddhartha . Realizing the contradictions between reality and what he has been taught, he abandons his comfortable life to wander.
What is the meaning of Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse?
Siddhartha learns that enlightenment only comes from within—it cannot come to us through our teachers or worldly possessions . It is available at all understanding ages and in all manners of life. It comes from calmness, compassion, and regarding all things as being of value in and of themselves.
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