In Reply to: Bound to the wheel posted by Natty on August 27, 2010 at 13:16:
: : : : : What is the origin of the phrase "bound to the wheel"?
: : : : You don't say in what context you have encountered the phrase or what it means - people could more easily help you if you had. However: ou can be literally bound to a real wooden wheel for the purpose of being broken on it - a painful form of execution formerly in use in many countries of Europe. Figuratively, both Buddhists and Hindus believe that all beings are "bound to the wheel of existence", condemned to being born and reborn countless times, unless they can achieve enlightenment which will free them from the illusion of existence. (VSD)
: : : :The context is a phrase from a book:
: : : "in Utopia... A Man is no longer bound to the Wheel".
: : : Now, may it be the Wheel of Fortuna?
: : : See
: : : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ForutuneWheel.jpg
: : : (Natty)
: : It would be more helpful if you said what book your quotation is from, and gave enough of the passage to make clear what the author meant. In any case, I don't think that the Wheel of Fortune can have anything to do with this phrase, because people in medieval art and allegory are never depicted as either bound to Fortune's wheel or being released from it. Rather, they are carried up to the heights of fame and glory and then inexorably down from there; what they would like to do, but can't, is *stop* the wheel at the most favourable point with them aboard, not to escape from it. (VSD)
: : I think that Fortuna represents the Fate. Hence *everybody* is bound to her wheel. No one can escape it. (Natty)
As long as we have as yet no context, maybe we should keep an open mind in case the association is with St. Catherine of Alexandria, she of the breaking wheel. I can also imagine that there might be a story of a helmsman bound to his wheel, although I don't actually know of such a story.