Oedipus the Free

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The concept of fate versus free will is very much like a map. One has a destination, but many possible routes to get there. The destination is one’s fate, but the paths, or free will, is what controls when and how one will get there. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles argues that Oedipus’ choices, not his prophesied destiny, ultimately causes his downfall. Oedipus’ decision to be prideful, stubborn, and rash all contributes to his impending doom. In Thebes, the law of free will prevails over men.
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.
Oedipus’ stubborn choice to pursue the mystery of King Laius’ death despite the ...

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...elf, I gave the command myself” (1512). Oedipus gives the command for the murderer of King Laius to be banned, thereby ensuring that the guilty party will be convicted and have no way out of the punishment. Oedipus’ free will causes him to make reckless decisions that increase the severity of his doom.
The question of free will is explored in Sophocles’ tragedy, Oedipus The King. Although it was prophesied that Oedipus would kill his father and bed his mother, the truth of the prophecy would never have been discovered if not for Oedipus’ rash decisions. Oedipus’ prideful, stubborn, and arrogant choices hastened his doom and added to the destruction his demise caused. Each choice Oedipus made took him further down the path toward his fate, but at each crossroad he had the chance to turn back. Oedipus was the master of his own destiny.

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Oedipus the King

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that fate versus free will is like a map. one's fate, but the paths, or freewill, is what controls when and how one will get there.
  • Analyzes how oedipus' excessive pride pushes him to reveal the truth of the murder of king laius.
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