Oedipus Rex Fate Vs Free Will Analysis

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A question that has existed in the minds of many since the beginning of time is whether life is determined by fate or free will. Most people have an opinion often based on their religious beliefs. Marcello Gleiser writes on the subject, “The question of free will is essentially a question of agency, of who is in charge as we go through our lives making all sorts of choices” (Gleiser). Many have looked to Oedipus: The King as a representation of fate vs. free will. Oedipus’ childhood is one in which an impossible number of things have to fall into place for it not to be fate. King Laius’ mysterious murder leads Oedipus to do some investigating, and in doing so, he uncovers something that will change his life forever. There is no way that free…show more content…
When Jocasta hears that Oedipus might be to blame for her husband’s death, she reassures Oedipus that it was a robber who murdered the king and that there is no possibility it was him. Oedipus sends for the one man who survived the roadside slaughter to serve as a witness. Meanwhile, a messenger comes and tells Oedipus that the king who raised him is dead. At first, Oedipus is relieved that the Oracles were wrong and that he did not kill his father, but then, the shepherd enters the palace and tells the truth: Oedipus is the one who killed the king. The shepherd continues to reveal that he is the one who saved Oedipus’ life when he was an infant. The shepherd knew who Oedipus was when he murdered the king; that is why he gave a false testimony previous to this occasion. Jocasta, shocked that she has married her son, commits suicide. When Oedipus sees what she has done, he gouges his eyes out with a pin on her dress. No matter how hard he tried to avoid fulfilling the prophecy, every path he followed led him to the same destination. E.R. Dodds, who believes the Greek tragedy is about neither fate nor free will, writes, “Bernard Knox aptly quotes the prophecy of Jesus to St. Peter, ‘Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.’ The Evangelists clearly did not intent to imply that Peter’s subsequent action was ‘fate-bound’... Peter fulfilled the prediction, but he did so by an act of…show more content…
This is proven by the storyline of Oedipus’ childhood, King Laius’ death, and Oedipus’ arrival to Thebes where he marries Jocasta. Perhaps, every human being has a sense of “free will,” but will the decisions each individual makes lead him or her to a destination already

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