Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - Power of Prophecy

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - Power of Prophecy

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The Power of Fate in Oedipus Rex (the King)


The underlying theme in Oedipus Rex is that fate is more powerful than free will. On this strong basis of fate, free will doesn't even exist. This was a popular belief among the ancient Greeks.  Fate may be accepted or denied by modern society, but in Oedipus's story, fate proves inevitable. In the play, Oedipus Rex, the characters Oedipus, Iocaste and Laios try to change fate.

 

In the very beginning of the story, before we hear from the oracle, there is already foreshadowing of Oedipus' impending doom. He, himself, states to the people, "Sick as you are, not one is as sick as I" (Sophocles 5). This statement is almost eerie when looking back upon it. Alone, it seems as if he knows that he is ill fated, but reading on he clarifies his pain in this way:

 

Each of you suffers in himself alone

His anguish, not another's; but my spirit

Groans for the city, for myself, for you" (Sophocles 5).

 

His pain is not his future; it is the plague of the country. Oedipus was told by Teiresias that in his later years he would be the killer of his own father, and would marry his own mother. In his attempt to avoid this situation, he left both of his parents and traveled to a far away city called Thebes. Once there he was married to a woman, that he, himself, was positive was not his mother, for his mother was the woman that he had left back in Corinth. Also, being so far from his known home, there was no chance that he could kill his father whom he had also left behind. Oedipus thought he was safe, but he was not.

 

Oedipus is not the only one that tries to escape the curse. Iocaste also tried to escape the curse. She knows about it before Oedipus, himsel...


... middle of paper ...


...esume on his good fortune until he find pain

Life, at his death, a memory without pain (Sophocles 78).

 

 

Work Cited

Sophocles.  "Oedipus Rex."  An Introduction to Literature, 11th ed.Eds. Sylvan Barnet, et al.  New York: Longman, 1997.

 

1. You use a lot of appositives.  Appositives are devices that rename something, "Oedipus, himself" or "Laios, the king" or "highwayman, a stranger."  The second name should be set off by commas:  "Oedipus, himself."

2. The character of Teiresias should be discussed in your conclusion since he embodies the truth about the absolute finality of fate, which is exactly what the other three characters failed to see.

3. Your paper should be organized so that each point, or each character is discussed in a separate paragraph and you stick to that character until you have fully discussed him or her.

 

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