Fate Over Free Will Essay

Fate Over Free Will Essay

Length: 1146 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Fate Over Free Will
In the play Oedipus Rex, Sophocles portrays the clash between fate and free will that is a cornerstone of Athenian culture. Sophocles shows us that Athenians are ultimately puppets of the Gods through the life and death of Oedipus. The actions Oedipus takes to counteract the foretold prophecies ultimately lead to his fulfillment of them. The lack of control Oedipus has over his fate emphasizes the tragedy of the story. Oedipus’ life has been out of his hands since he was born, thus he is merely an instrument of the Gods’ bidding.
Oedipus does not have control of his life, though he may have been deceived into thinking so. Teiresias tells Oedipus the prophecy that, “He shall be proved both father and brother to his own children in his own house; to her that gave him birth, a son and husband both; a fellow sower in his father’s bed with the same father that he murdered” (Sophocles 535-539). Upon hearing this, Oedipus takes action to prevent the prophecy, but only ends up fulfilling it by unknowingly slaying Laius while fleeing. This is clear evidence that fate overcomes free will in Oedipus Rex. How can one know that the actions you take to change your fate will end up solidifying it? Oedipus thinks that he is in control of his destiny, but in reality, it is in the Gods’ hands.
The Gods even have the power to convince humans that their destiny is of their own free will, and not fate. However, the Gods had this plan set forth for Oedipus since his birth. The series of events and coincidences that occur to lead Oedipus to his demise are not all of his own doing, but the Gods deceive him into thinking so. “It is not fate that I should be your ruin, Apollo is enough; it is his care to work this out” (Sophocles 43...

... middle of paper ...

... situations such as this. But the mere fact that the Gods’ prophecy altered the circumstances of his upbringing argues fate over free will. Secondly, what would a king be if he did not pursue justice in his city? He had no reason to believe he was the murderer, so there would be no reason for Oedipus to not seek justice in this situation. Lastly, the culture of the time dictated that he should believe in the Gods’ prophecies and that they are the truth. The oracle may speak in riddles and irritate Oedipus, but there was still no reason to distrust the prophecy.
In conclusion Oedipus had no real control over his destiny, fate dominated over free will. From the time since his birth, everything has been controlled and set up by the Gods. He is merely an innocent pawn who was controlled by giving the illusion of free will. There was no way for Oedipus avoid his destiny.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Fate or Free Will

- The first script play that we’ve discussed is Oedipus Rex. Each classmates expressed their opinion about one of the three characters, Oedipus, Jocasta, and Creon, and how their action are either fated and free will. My opinion about fate and free will is solely based on Oedipus. However, his fate was in King Laius and Jocasta’s hands and they had a chance to change it. The prophecy is based on action throughout the person’s life and will affect others as well. To summarize of what was going on in the Oedipus play....   [tags: prophecy, incest, greek]

Better Essays
551 words (1.6 pages)

Fate And Free Will : Oedipus The King Essay

- 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....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Jocasta, Sophocles]

Better Essays
1493 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Fate and Free Will in Greek Mythologies

- Abstract In English literature and Greek mythologies fate and free will played colossal responsibilities in creating the characters in the legendary stories and plays. The Greek gods believed in fate and interventions, predictions of a life of an individual before and after birth which the individual has no control over their own destiny. Free will and fate comingle together, this is where a person can choose his own fate, choose his own destiny by the choices the individual will make in their lifetime....   [tags: Mythology]

Better Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Fate and Free Will in Literature Essay

- ... The big picture is that despite all these books being written in different eras with different ideals, they all have that same ambivalence about fate and freewill. And even now, that ambivalence remains. People are unsure of whether we have freewill, or all of our actions are part of a predetermined plan. So, why is it that throughout history and the present, the debate between fate and freewill remains. Predetermined fate is a hard thing to believe in because everyone has a different view on life....   [tags: oedipus rex, candide, macbeth]

Better Essays
758 words (2.2 pages)

The Fate Of Free Choice Essay

- In Greek mythology, humans are often times portrayed as merely pieces of a board game played by the gods. Fate plays an essential role in Antigone and Oedipus Rex, where it unfolds and leads to the tragedy of these characters. Although both tragedies unravel the destinies of the characters, fate and free play different roles in each poem. However, despite superficial differences between the plots, there is the irony of the futility of free choice present in both poems. These characters use personal initiatives in attempt to alter their tragedies, yet that ‘freedom’ of action is ultimately driven by fate....   [tags: Sophocles, Oedipus, Greek mythology, Jocasta]

Better Essays
780 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Hamlet: Fate vs Free Will

- At the heart of every great tragedy lies the universal struggle between the human inclination to accept fate absolutely and the natural desire to control destiny (Stockton). Like most of his plays, in Shakespeare’s masterpiece Hamlet one of the prevailing themes centers on the question, “Does fate and providence overrule man’s own choices and decisions?” Throughout the work, the main character Hamlet views Fortune in various differing lights as he plots and plans his revenge. This complex interpretation of Fate’s influence is also shared with Horatio, Hamlet’s most treasured friend....   [tags: fate, destiny, play analysis, Shakespeare]

Better Essays
1003 words (2.9 pages)

Fate or Free Will Essay

- Fate or Free Will It is known that in Shakespeare's tragedic plays, main characters die in the end such as Romeo and Juliet as stated in the prologue. Since Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, Romeo and Juliet are going to die in the end. Some events have to lead to their deaths, and someone makes these events happen. The families who commenced this fiery feud did something that led to all the other events that caused the death of "a pair of star-crossed lovers" (Prologue, 6). The Capulets and Montagues would be most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet because if their ancestors didn't start the fighting, and they didn't continue it, nothing terrible would have happene...   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
497 words (1.4 pages)

Romeo and Juliet: Fate and Free Will Essay

- Romeo and Juliet: Fate and Free Will Shakespeare hasn't chosen about fate or free will, he is telling us to decide. At the very opening of the play the Chorus tells us of fate, "…A pair of star crossed lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows ====================================== Doth with their death bury their parents' strife…" This is saying that pair of ill-fated lovers (written in the stars) have an unlucky (fate?) accident and the price of their deaths are end their parents troubles with each other....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
857 words (2.4 pages)

Romeo and Juliet: Fate or Free Will? Essay

- Romeo and Juliet: Fate or Free Will. The play Romeo and Juliet was one of the most famous love tragedies ever written. This love story unfortunately had a fatal ending. Many people argue over why the lovers had died, was it over Free Will or Fate. The death of Romeo and Juliet was partially because of free will. The fact that Romeo and Juliet got married knowing that there was a bitter feud between their families, the Montague and Capulet’s. This feud brought on many problems, such as the murder of Tybalt by Romeo....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet]

Better Essays
536 words (1.5 pages)

Romeo And Juliet - Fate Or Free Will Essay

- The human condition follows the path of fate. Everyone makes choices out of their own free will which affects their life at that time, but will ultimately lead to their pre- determined fate. People inflict their own wounds during their life by the choices that they make. This applies in Romeo and Juliet and plays a major role in Romeo and Juliet’s lives. "A pair of star-crossed lovers" (I, i, 6) In the very opening of the play the chorus is singing about Romeo and Juliet, and predicts their life together as having a star-crossed conclusion....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
539 words (1.5 pages)