The Workings of Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King

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Fate in Oedipus Rex Sophocles' tragic tale of Oedipus presents the reader with a very bleak view of mankind and the world in general. According to the story, every person is predestined to enact a role scripted by fate, a "mysterious power" that rules even the greatest of Greek gods (Hamilton, 27). In this tale, the source of this fate is not as clear as its function. The first of many allusions to fate in Oedipus the King comes from the chorus, which calls upon the gods Athena, Artemis, and Phoebus (Apollo), "three averters of Fate," (Sophocles 163) to save Thebes. The phrase implied that the gods could help man avoid the dictates of fate, but that they cannot alter fate. Sharing the terrible facts of Laius' death, Teiresias tells Oedipus: "It is not fate that I should be your ruin, Apollo is enough; it is his care/to work this out" (Sophocles 376-378). The prophet's pronouncement links fate and Apollo, yet he suggest... ... middle of paper ... ... the Sphinx in its puzzling presence and ruthless punishment of the innocent. If Oedipus the King does not define fate, it aptly demonstrates its workings. Works Cited: Greene, David and Richmond Lattimore, Eds. Greek Tragedies. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991. Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New York: Penguin, 1969. Sophocles. "Oedipus Rex." An Introduction to Literature, 11th ed.Eds. Sylvan Barnet, et al. New York: Longman, 1997.

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