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Fate Versus Free Will

analytical Essay
1744 words
1744 words
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Fate Versus Free Will Fate, as described in the Oxford English Dictionary, is “The principle, power, or agency by which, according to certain philosophical and popular systems of belief, all events, or some events in particular, are unalterably predetermined from eternity.” To the western world, fate is perceived as “a sentence or doom of the gods” (Oxford). They often sought prophecies of the gods, especially from Apollo, the god of knowledge. The Greeks would seek prophecies usually when they had doubts about something, or if they were afraid or in despair. When the gods made a prophecy, the Greeks put all their faith in it and believed that it would happen. When their prophecies did come true, was it really fate that controlled them? If so, was there any room for free will? Some have difficulty believing that a god, rather than their own actions, could control their fate. However, when a god made a prophecy, which later came true, the evidence was clear enough to cause someone to believe in fate. In one famous play, the question of fate versus free will plays a dominant role during analysis. The play, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, stars a young man, Oedipus, who appears to be the pawn of the gods. In Ode four (27-31), the chorus comments on Oedipus’ state: And now of all men ever known Most pitiful is this man’s story: His fortunes are most changed, his state Fallen to a low slave’s Ground under bitter fate. Every aspect of Oedipus’ life and everyone he loves eventually suffers from a horrible fate predicted by the gods. However, did Oedipus have to suffer his fate or did he have the power to change it; is the outcome of Oedipus’s life really the result of fate or his own actions? After... ... middle of paper ... ... 1992. The University System of Georgia. 22 April 1999 *http://venuse.galib.uga.edu:4000/FETCH:%3Asessionid=29107:resultset=1:format=F:fcl=1:recno=1:numrecs=1:next=html/Article.html*. * Guthrie, W. K. C. The Greeks and Their Gods. Boston: Beacon Press, 1950. * Hamilton, Edith. The Greek Way. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1930. * Knox, Bernard M. W. Oedipus at Thebes. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957. * “Oxford English Dictionary.” Galaleo. The University System of Georgia. 2 May 1999. *http://sage.libs.uga.edu/ssp/cgi-bin/oed-idx.pl?sessionid=925701061&type=entry&byte= 136735810&q1=fate&q2=&q3=* * Sophocles. “Oedipus Rex.” Literature. Ed. Robert DiYanni. Boston: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1998. 880-921. * “Sophocles: The Author and His Times.” Barron’s Booknotes. America Online. 22 April 1999 *AOL keyword: Barron’s*.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that fate is the principle, power, or agency by which, according to certain philosophical and popular systems of belief, all events are unalterably predetermined from eternity. the greeks sought prophecies of the gods, especially from apollo.
  • Analyzes how the question of fate versus free will plays a dominant role during analysis in sophocles' oedipus rex.
  • Analyzes how oedipus' life and everyone he loves eventually suffers from a horrible fate predicted by the gods. is the outcome of his life the result of fate or his own actions?
  • Analyzes how the play proves that the greeks believed that their lives were controlled by fate. the three oracles serve as the backbone of the story.
  • Analyzes how laius, iocaste, and oedipus tried to avoid their fates through their own actions.
  • Analyzes how laius and iocaste give up their child, and oedipus leaves corinth on his own free will. the characters' actions are guided by the fates of the gods.
  • Analyzes how iocaste feels that the word of the gods should be disregarded. she believes that laius died by the hands of a stranger rather than "at his son, as he had feared."
  • Opines that iocaste and oedipus will see that the prophecies have already come true and the gods are no longer interfering.
  • Analyzes the role of the gods in revealing the truth of oracle's prophecies to oedipus. he tries to avoid crimes and offending his family by leaving corinth.
  • Analyzes harold donohue's question about the extent to which western culture is dependent on this notion of fate.
  • Argues that oedipus could have lived with himself in the condition he was in, but the gods do not prophesize his downfall nor banish his father.
  • Opines that the audience may never know whether or not oedipus's actions are of his own free will or if the gods control them.
  • Cites ahl, frederick, donohue, harold, and guthrie, w.
  • Cites hamilton, edith, knox, bernard m. w. oedipus at thebes, new haven: yale university press, 1957.
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