The concept of fate has existed since the time of the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed very strongly in fate, which can be defined as either a power beyond human control that determines events, or the outcome or end. In "Oedipus Rex," King Oedipus lives and dies by fate. Fate influences the entire plot, thereby allowing for some interesting developments that may be unpredictable to the audience.
The question has been raised as to whether Oedipus was a victim of fate or of his own actions. This essay will show that Oedipus was a victim of fate, but he was no puppet because he freely and actively sought his doom, although he was warned many times of the inevitable repercussions of his actions.
Oedipus is motivated by his desire to know the full truth which unfortunately leads to him learning that his terrible fate has been fulfilled and he loses everything he holds dear. In the beginning of Oedipus Rex, the audience sees that Thebes is suffering a terrible plague. Oedipus, being crowned King after his defeat of the Sphinx, desires to save his city from the plague and restore it into a place of peace and stability. Creon tells Oedipus that the oracle said that Thebes is cursed because the murderer of Laos still lives in Thebes unpunished. Oedipus is determined to find the murder of Laos and He saved Thebes once from the Sphinx and he wants to be hero of Thebes again. He could go down in history as the great Oedipus who redeemed Thebes from a plague and saved the citizens from the Sphinx. At first he thinks of himself as almost equal to the gods in greatness. Jocasta tries to calm Oedipus down, telling him that her son was prophesized to kill her husband, but the child was killed so he could not. Oedipus, however, is still haunted by his fate. As a result, he seeks out the knowledge of the blind seer Teirisius and later the knowledge of the Shepherd. However, from the information from Teirisius and the Sheperd Oedipus finds that he could not outrun his fate. He had children with his mother and had murdered Laos. John Green says, "the irony is that the one who saved Thebes is the one destroying it." Oedipus goes from being a great hero and respected king to being disgraced and condemned. All his glory and honor turns into suffering and ruin. He feels "deserted by the gods" (Sophocles 71) and is weak. This is like how Caesar goes against the warnings of his own wife, the soothsayer, and Artemidoris in order to not look we...
First we will look at fate. The definition of fate is a force or power that predetermines events or an inevitable events predestined by force. I believe that Oedipus’ fate in life was sealed for him to be exiled and alone in the end before he was even born. His father, Laius was told that he “was fated to die by the hand of his son to be born to him…as for the son – three days after his birth … Laius had him cast away on the pathless mountains”. Laius’ descendants were cursed because of his actions to another. Laius did not believe he had a son or living child to carry out this telling. So he went about his life without worry believing that the one child he had brought into this world was gone. Oedipus was this unknown child that did not know he was that child either. He believed he was that of another. Forces were at work without any control.
Although Oedipus has already fulfilled his destiny, his excessive pride pushes him to reveal the truth of the murder of King Laius. Had Oedipus not acted upon that pride, he would have never realized that he had achieved his dreadful prophecy. Oedipus ignores the dangerous warnings of his companions, and instead increases the urgency of the hunt for the murderer. “Listen to you? No more. I must know it all, / must see the truth at last” (1168-1169). Oedipus chooses to pursue the truth about King Laius’ murderer, not knowing he was the culprit. His own reckless pride makes Oedipus want to be the hero that would save Thebes from the deadly plague triggered by the murder of Laius. “I’ll start again- I’ll bring it all to light myself” (150)! Oedipus’ pride once again pushes him to find out the truth of the old kings murder. He wants to act as a God and protect his city. Oedipus’ free will causes him to be prideful, therefore hastening his downfall. “Now my curse on the murderer…” (280). When Oedipus curses the murderer, he unknowingly curses himself, too. Oedipus has multiple chances to turn away from his fate, but his excessive pride only leads him closer to it.
Born into a royal family, Oedipus was one of the bearers of a disastrous generational curse. He had no idea what he was born into, or what he would become. Poor Oedipus was put into to the world to serve as an example from the gods. Although Oedipus was said to be a victim of fate, he contributed to his own fate more than the gods. He was placed into the world to with a prophecy that he will kill his father and married his mother and conceive children with her, but that was just a prophecy not his destiny. Oedipus could have determined a new destiny for himself, but instead he did more things to make the prophecy true rather than false. The life of Oedipus was a great tragedy, not only for him but for his entire family. Although the gods may have set a prophecy for Oedipus future, Oedipus contribute mostly to his destiny.
Sophocles’ tragic play, “Oedipus the King”, or “Oedipus Rex” as it’s known by its Latin name, is the Athenian drama that revolves around the events which lead to the demise of Oedipus Rex. The King Oedipus is forced down a preordained path that throws his entire world into a spiral of tragic providence, in this trilogy of a Theban play. Sophocles assigns the tragic hero to a downfall with the impossibility of changing the written fate; perhaps the views of today’s society would feel sympathy for the predicament that Oedipus is forced into, however, the publics of ancient Greece would accept that the path laid before them was a creation of the Gods. “Oedipus the King” reflects the ancient Greek credence in the belief that a person can do nothing to avoid their destiny, an idea that contrasts with what society believes today.
Oedipus The King is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles warning about the dangers of arrogance and power, as well as the power of fate and the Gods. Oedipus is the tragic hero of the plot who was destined from birth to kill his father and marry his mother, which prompts his parents, the King and Queen of Thebes, to send him to the mountainside to die. However, the King and Queen of Corinth save him from death. As a man, he returns to Thebes, in order to not fulfill the prophecy against his parents, but he does not know about his origins. On his way to Thebes he kills a man, and at Thebes he solves the riddle of the Sphinx which earns him the title of King and marries the queen. When the murder mystery of the previous king, King Laius, resurfaces, it is discovered the Oedipus killed King Laius without knowing he was king or his father and married his mother, this fulfilling the prophecy. Full of misery and guilt, the queen Jocasta, commits suicide and Oedipus blinds himself. Due to Oedipus’ excessive hubris, he creates his own misery throughout the play and his downfall. The notion of hubris is introduced when Oedipus reopens the murder case of King Laius, followed by his blindness to the truth, and the end of his reign and banishment from Thebes.
In Sophocles ' Oedipus the King, the themes of fate and free will are very strong throughout the play. Only one, however, brought about Oedipus ' downfall and death. Both points could be argued to great effect. In ancient Greece, fate was considered to be a rudimentary part of daily life. Every aspect of life depended and was based upon fate (Nagle 100). It is common belief to assume that mankind does indeed have free will and each individual can decide the outcome of his or her life. Fate and free will both decide the fate of Oedipus the King.
In Oedipus the King, one of Sophocles most popular plays, Sophocles depicts that fate will control the journey of a man’s life through free will. In today’s society, people let their life’s to be controlled by certain believes they strongly abide. Throughout Oedipus the King, the concepts of fate versus free will plays a crucial role in Oedipus’s life. Oedipus personality causes him misfortunes through his downfall by continuously denying accepting his own fate, as his temper took a major tool on him, and the rational choices he made.
Oedipus is very arrogant and allows his emotions to blind him and prevent himself from making sound decisions. In the beginning of the play, Oedipus is revered by his people. They adore him for solving the riddle of the Sphinx, and see him as the “wisest in the ways of God (38).” Accordingly, Oedipus takes in all the praise, becoming prideful and believes himself to be invincible. Upon hearing that the plague was caused by the murder of Laios, Oedipus takes it upon himself to find the murderer, saying, “Then once more I must bring what is dark to light (135).” His belief in himself impels Oedipus to declare in front of all his people that he will find the murderer and save Thebes. He does not say that he will try, or that he will do his, but that he will undoubtedly solve the case. Oedipus sets his situation up for failure. Consequently, if he does not succeed the people of Thebes will lose faith in him and think of him as incompete...
Oedipus has a "tragic flaw" that leads to his demise, and efforts to attribute one to him to him seem forced . In his quest to uncover the truth and rid Thebes of the plague, he exhibits all the heroic qualities that made him the savior of Thebes during the Sphinx's reign of terror. Oedipus as a victim of a fate he could not control. He had enormous control over the events of his "destiny" through the numerous decisions he makes. He chooses to believe the oracle and leave Corinth.
The concept of life can be a very complex journey that not many are able to comprehend. For some it could be an adventure full of unexpected surprises and misfortunes, while for others it can be a walk in the park on a calm sunny afternoon. Some of us think of life as an ever changing day to day pattern, but what happens when you’re told exactly what your destiny is and that there is no possible way of changing it? In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles the destiny of a man whose life is full of misery and despair is forsaken by the fact that he’s bound to kill his father and destined to marry his mother. Oedipus is his own worst enemy due to his choices throughout the play, as well as his tragic flaws which are stubborness, naiveness and ignorance.
The ancient Greeks were fond believers of Fate. Fate, defined according to Webster’s, is “the principle or determining cause or will by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as the do.” The Greeks take on Fate was slightly modified. They believed that the gods determined Fate: “…fate, to which in a mysterious way the gods themselves were subject, was an impersonal force decreeing ultimate things only, and unconcerned with day by day affairs.” It was thought that these gods worked in subtle ways; this accounts for character flaws (called harmatia in Greek). Ancient Greeks thought the gods would alter a person’s character, in order for that person to suffer (or gain from) the appropriate outcome. Such was the case in Oedipus’s story.
The impetus for the downfall of Oedipus, "Known far and wide by name" (Sophocles, 1), is his anger. Enraged he slew King Laius and in anger he hastily pursued his own ruination. From the aforementioned recriminations of Tiresias to the conflict with his brother-in-law Creon (his ill temper again displayed - "Tempers such as yours most grievous to their own selves to bear,... .(Sophocles, 25); through the revealing exchanges with his wife/mother Jocasta and her slave (whose pity saved the infant Oedipus), damming insight grows in a logical sequence, all the while fueled by the Oedipal rage. Realizing the heinous nature of his actions, Oedipus blinds himself in a fit of anger and remorse - now, as Tiresias, he can see.