Aristotle, in his work The Poetics, tries to delineate the idea of a tragedy. Throughout his work Aristotle says that the hero, or at least the protagonist in a tragedy must be substantially good, almost godlike. This hero must bring upon themselves their downfall, due to their fatal flaw. If the hero is not at a high point, an audience will not care about them, and won’t notice their fall. One must fall a long way in social class in order for it to be noticed by the outside man. Oedipus perfectly exemplifies a tragedy, in relation to modern society, effectively showing how too much pride can often lead to downfall or doom.
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 term Fate has a place in the world of ancient Greece but it is very different from other parts of the world. I have learned it is important to understand the context before discussing the situation. Most people think fate happens for reasons unknown and no one has any control over what happens. However, the ancient Greeks did not believe that fate is a random occurrence. They believed that the gods created fate and would constantly intervene to force things to happen that would not have happened. Since the characters tend to not know of the gods’ interfering, occurrences seem to be fate but are really planned by the gods.
In Greek mythology as a whole, fate does have a sizeable role in most tales. However, the definition of fate for the ancient Greeks extends from the common definition. The definition of fate that is familiar to us is anything that happens for an unknown reason and is out of our control. But in Greek mythology fate also involves divine intervention from the gods of Olympus. They are able to change outcomes and alter situations to the point where what occurs might not have happened without them. In The Odyssey, gods have a very prominent role. But you cannot just discuss fate by itself. Free will is also a factor. Free will is mankind’s ability to make decisions control the aspects of one’s life. In The Odyssey life is the individual’s responsibility.
Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex has fascinated readers for over two millennia with its tale of a man who falls from greatness to shame. The enigmatic play leaves many questions for the reader to answer. Is this a cruel trick of the gods? Was Oedipus fated to kill his father and marry his mother? Did he act of his own free will? Like the Greeks of centuries past, we continue to ponder these perennial questions. Part of the genius of Sophocles is that he requires a great deal of mental and spiritual involvement from his audience.
Throught Oedipus Rex, Oedipus displays his heroism many times. From the Prologue of the play to the moment in which he leaves Thebes, Oedipus' heroics are extremely apparent; however, at the same time, the decisions which make Oedipus a hero ultimately become the decisions which bring him to shame and exile.
Sixteenth century play writers often focused on the tragic irony of fate. One such play-writer is Sophacles. In one of his later plays, “Oedipus”, he writes the tragic story of a man who can’t avoid his pre-destined fate, and that some things just can’t be changed by the people in your life no matter how hard they try. Oedipus, the main character of this tragedy, he is a protagonist ruled by conflict and fate. This is evident in the characters traits and motivations, interactions with others, and the characters language and what others say about him.
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.
From the beginning of Oedipus the King, the citizens of Thebes shower their ruler with a boundless stream of praise. They believe him to be their only savior from a plague engulfing the land. This boosts his self-esteem to a level that prevents him from accepting the veracity of his agonizing prophecy. As the characters begin to piece the truth together through the accounts of others and shared memories, the egotistical ruler reacts with fervorous anger and denial. The Chorus captures Oedipus’ response to the accusations in the
Fate has a place in the Greek world but its place is not the same as it is in other scenarios or worlds. It is important to understand the word before we discuss it. Fate as far as Greek mythology goes is not just fate. By most standards fate means that things occur for an unknown reason that no one has any control over. However, in the world of Greek Mythology fate does not just happen. The gods engineer fate and they interfere to make things happen that might not otherwise have happened. Since the players do not always know of the gods' involvement, things may actually appear to be fate but in reality be engineered happenings.
Oedipus Rex”, by Socrates, is a play that shows the fault of men and the ultimate power of the gods. Throughout the play, the main character, Oedipus, continually failed to recognize the fault in human condition, and these failures let to his ultimate demise. Oedipus failed to realize that he, himself was the true answer to the riddle of the Sphinx. Oedipus ignored the truth told to him by the oracles and the drunk at the party, also. These attempts to get around his fate which was determined by the gods was his biggest mistake. Oedipus was filled with hubris and this angered the gods. He believed he was more that a man. These beliefs cause him to ignore the limits he had in being a man. Oedipus needed to look at Teiresias as his window to his future.
The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate that the events in Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, are the result of the hero’s self determination and restless attempt to escape a terrifying destiny predicted for him by the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. My intention is to prove that although the Fates play a crucial part in the story, it is Oedipus'choices and wrong doing that ultimately lead to his downfall.
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.
In Sophocles' play, "Oedipus The King," the continuous references to eyes and sight possess a much deeper meaning than the literal message. These allusions are united with several basic underlying themes. The story contains common Ancient Greek philosophies, including those of Plato and Parmenides, which are often discussed and explained during such references. A third notion is the punishment of those who violate the law of the Gods. The repeated mentioning of sight and eyes signify the numerous ancient Greek beliefs present in the story.
Oedipus tried frantically to elude his predicted destiny and outsmart the gods and their celestial power. By pushing the parameters of his social margins, the delicate connection between god and man becomes more obvious. At the opening of Sophocles’ play, Oedipus is confronted with all the difficulties of Thebes, the city he governs as King. The crops are dying, the flocks are unhealthy, children are dying, and an epidemic is devastating the population. All these predicaments became apparent, after the demise of the city’s prior king, Laius and Oedipus takes over. The plagues of the town are a punishment on the citizens for not discovering their prior King’s killer. This play illustrates the direct involvement of the gods in Oedipus’ destiny, Oedipus’ effort to change his fate, and by trying to defy his destiny; he unknowingly fulfilled it. All his efforts were in vain, as the gods had already determined his future.