Sophokle’s Oidipous the King, as a play anent choice and fate, has provided much discussion regarding the extent to which Oidipous is responsible for his own downfall. As an ongoing point of deliberation, it is clear that there is not one discernible truth. However, the predetermining of Oidipous’ fate by external forces signifies that the predominate factor influencing his downfall is not that of Oidipous, but rather such external forces. This paper will provide substantial evidence acknowledging the all-governing and punishing gods, the cursed and reprimanded Laios and Iokaste and that of Sophokles’ embedded Greek tragedian catharsis as the external forces predominately responsible for Oidipous’ downfall.
In considering Oidipous’ responsibility for his downfall, it is imperative to discuss the context, particularly that of the religious context, in which the play was written…show more content… Laios in particular, in reference to the curse on the house of Labdakos (Labdakos as Laios’ father), is responsible for the pre-determined fate of Oidipous. The curse on the house of Labdakos entails the three-generation curse given to Laios, Oidipous’ father. As a result of Laios abducting and raping the illegitimate son of Pelops, Chrysippus (Bartels and Bartels 126), this curse would affect Laios’ offspring for three generations, including that of his son, Oidipous (McCart 9). This oracle warned Laios against having a son as “fate would have him killed by his own child who would be born of Laios and of [Iokaste]” (713-14). However, through drunkenness, Laios impregnates Iokaste, leading to the birth of Oidipous. As a result of this curse, Oidipous’ fate was determined for him to commit parricide and incest, as per the oracle. Laios condemned, or “bound” (791), Oidipous to murder his father and marry his mother as he assisted in the predetermining of Oidipous’