Influenced by Humans but Beyond Human Control: Fate in Oedipus Essay

Influenced by Humans but Beyond Human Control: Fate in Oedipus Essay

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Fate; something that unavoidably befalls upon a person, fate is influenced by one’s own actions, but is ultimately dictated by events beyond human control. In this play Sophocles demonstrates the power of fate through certain situations that occur throughout the play which are uncontrollable. The gods preordained Oedipus’ future, with all its intricacies and landmarks which lead Oedipus on his quest to find his identity and the truth. However, the path Oedipus “chooses” is simply a reaction to the predetermination of his life. Ultimately fate, through Oedipus’ own “choices” is his opponent throughout the play.
Oedipus, sent away from Thebes as an infant, coincidently was saved and became the prince of Corinth. Upon hearing of the prophecy of his adoptive parents he flees Corinth in hopes of not fulfilling the prophecy. Oedipus seems to constantly try to flee his fate while in doing so fate catches up with him. The new king being so caught up in his newly acquired power tries to escape his fate by “choosing” to do something. However, in reality what Oedipus considers choices are really just the gods pulling on his strings as if he was a marionette. He does not see the omnipotent power of the gods, this shows his great amount of perseverance yet lack of humility as he is trying to overcome the power of the gods, with what he believes to be free will.
“Right; but to put compulsion on the Gods against their will-no man can do that.”(279-280)
This quote is an example of dramatic irony because Oedipus is saying that to go against the will of the gods is impossible for any human being to do. However he himself is trying to escape his own fate. In analyzing this situation we see the struggle between Oedipus and his foolishness toward...


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...avoid his fate, however when fate does catch up with him, his rather admirable qualities shine through and his seemingly pointless struggle seems equated with the amount of virtue he had received.
Oedipus is a man coming to terms with his own identity, he tries to escape fate but in doing so he allows for the truth to realize itself. This is partly due to his oblivious nature, which does not permit him to see past the superficial level of the prophecy as to who is in control of the events which comprise his fate. Ultimately, the gods and fate triumph, Oedipus being so afraid of the truth which he discovered, due to his predetermined fate. Perhaps his story is meant to show that error and disaster can happen to anyone, that human beings are relatively powerless before fate or the gods, and that the best attitude to have toward life should be one of cautious humility

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