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Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - Impact of Fate

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Oedipus The King and His Fate

Oedipus The King, by Sophocles, is a play about how Oedipus lives up his fate that he will kill his father and marry his mother, both of which are extremely bad in the Greek society, even though he thinks he is getting away from it. Despite the Greek notions of supreme power of the gods and fate, Oedipus' downfall is primarily the result of King Laius' and his own actions and attempts to defy the gods, consequently Sophocles says that prophecies from the gods of someone's fate should not be ignored. Prophecies from the Oracle of Delphi are told to King Laius and Queen Jocasta, and to Oedipus.

Sophocles says that prophecies from the gods of someone's fate should not be ignored when King Laius went to the Oracle of Delphi and received a prophecy that his child, Oedipus, was going to kill him and marry his wife, Jacosta.

" Shepherd - No! No! I said it before--I gave him the child...It was the son of Laius, so I was told. But the lady inside, your wife, she is the one to tell you.

Oedipus - Did she give it to you?

Shepherd - Yes, my lord, she did...To destroy it...She was afraid of dreadful prophecies...The child would kill its parents, that was the story.

Oedipus - Then why did you give it to this old man here?

Shepherd - In pity master. I thought he would take it away to a foreign country-- to the place he came from. If you are the man he says you are, you were born the most unfortunate of men." (86-89)

When King Laius heard this prophecy and returned to Thebes to tell of this prophecy to his wife, they planned to kill their child, but neither had the guts to do it. They had a servant shepherd bring their child to Mt. Cithaeron to kill it, but the servant felt pity for the child and gave him to a fellow Shepherd from Corinth in hopes he could take it to a foreign country to take care of it.

Sophocles says that prophecies from the gods of someone's fate should not be ignored when he tells that when Oedipus was in the care of his foster parents, Polybus and Merope, he took a journey to The Oracle of Delphi without them knowing.
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