A Comparison of Fate in Iliad and Oedipus Rex

A Comparison of Fate in Iliad and Oedipus Rex

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Fate in Iliad and Oedipus Rex


In the stories The Iliad and Oedipus Rex, Oedipus and Achilles exemplified the portrayal of how a personal characters' fate may lay in their own hands. The egotistical mindset Oedipus held triggered one of the most tragic turns in his future, resembling Achilles. As for his excess pride, it resulted in the loss of his good friend Patroclus.

Oedipus' boastful ways were the initiation of his disastrous downfall. A few years before Oedipus took reign of king, he was requested to step aside while a group of men passed. His self-esteem felt intruded and he was so enraged he killed the crowd. Thinking that he already knew his true father Oedipus did not know that one of the members of the assembly that he had slaughtered was his own father, King Laius. Destroying his father meant destroying the city he was soon to befriend as their king. Oedipus felt as if this curse came from above, as he says in line 1285, "Apollo. Dear children the god was Apollo. He brought my sick, sick fate upon me." But he also believed his ignorance played quite the role in his fate, as in line 700 he says, "I think I may be accursed by my own ignorant edict."

In the not so tragic fate that Achilles life took, his obsession of his ego and pride was also the cause of the loss of his friend Patroclus. Agamemnon stole Briseis away from Achilles as revenge for him having to return Chryseis, to her father. In the proud eyes of Achilles this was a blow to his ego and chose that he would not fight in the war against the Trojans. Even though his friends remained in the war, he wished humiliation on Agamemnon. Before the war Nestor presented the thought of Patroclus wearing Achille's armor and taking his place of battle, so Patroclus followed the suggestion and went into war with Achille`s armor on.

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Apollo caused Patroclus to drop from his horse and was killed by Hector.

Both of these conceited characters could have saved themselves from sorrow if only they weren't so self-centered and bigheaded. If Oedipus' self admiring ways wouldn't have blinded him, his fate would have never been as harsh or catastrophic as it turned out to be. In Achilles story, he would have never lost Patroclus if he would have thought about his friends instead on putting himself first.
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