Sophocles’ Idea of Fate in Oedipus Rex Essay example

Sophocles’ Idea of Fate in Oedipus Rex Essay example

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds” (Quote Details). It is believed that if a chain of events has been prophesied, then that person's choice and free will lead them inescapably to what has been predicted for their destiny. The idea that fate is the most powerful force on men, is essential to this play Oedipus the King. Perhaps the most incontrovertible instance of fate in this play is that of the prophecy made regarding Oedipus's birth; Oedipus was destined to kill his father and sleep with his mother “no matter what he or anyone else might do to prevent it and quite apart from the circuitous causal route that it took for him to get there” (Solomon). In the tragedy of Oedipus the Kind, it is by the hand of his own foible that he creates a ripple of misfortunes; It is by fate, freewill, and Oedipus' pride which led to his tragic down fall.

Within the play, Oedipus describes fate as “Darkness!/Horror of darkness enfolding, resistless, unspeakable visitant/sped by an ill wind in haste!” (1391-1393). Fate was seen as thought it was inescapable, unspeakable, and unstoppable for man to concur; which it was left to be said that fate always had the final say. Laius and Jocasta, which is Oedipus’ biological parents, attempted to avoid fates cruel hand by leaving their infant son on a mountainside to die, and Oedipus attempted to avoid this by leaving the home of the people who raised him on the conjecture that they were his birth parents. Despite after all these efforts to change their own fates and avoid the prophecy stated by Tiresias, the inevitable still occurred and the prophecy transpired within the play. Oedipus with all of his might he could not circ...


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...dipus Rex: Fate, Truth and Self-will 2.2 (2006): n. pag. Canadian Social Science. Web. 8 Apr. 2011.
Gass, Sally. "Oedipus Rex." Inside Out 1 (2005): 1,8. Denver Center Theatre Company. Web. 8 Apr. 2011.
Jackson, Wendell. "Oedipus the King." Humanities in the ancient and pre-modern world: an Africana emphasis. Needham Heights, MA: Pearson Custom Pub., 1999. 227 (1150-1160, 418-445, 1391-1393). Print.
"Lecture on Sophocles, Oedipus the King." Vancouver Island University, Degree Programs Canada – Master & Bachelor Education Degrees Canada | VIU. N.p., 9 Oct. 2000. Web. 7 Apr. 2011. http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/introser/oedipus.htm.
"Quote Details." Quotes and Famous Sayings - The Quotations Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2011. http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/3250.html.
Solomon, Robert C. Philosophy East and West. Vol. 53, No. 4 (Oct., 2003), pp. 435-454

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