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Fate and Free Will in Oedipus the King
In today's society we let our lives be led by a certain force that we believe in very strongly. Yet, a common debate that still rages today is whether we, as a species, have free will or if some divine source, some call it fate, controls our destiny. In the play, Oedipus the King, that special force is also used and is known and defined as fate. This played an important role in the lives of the characters just as it plays one in our daily lives.
First of all, Oedipus is determined to discover who he is, just like any person who is having problems. One explores the reason behind the problem to set their mind free and feel relief. They try to explore what is causing the problem and when it is discovered it is better left unknown. Oedipus can not accept things as they are and by investigating his past, he is his own worst enemy by destroying his relationships and himself. When he was a young man he heard that his parents were not his real paternal parents, from the oracle. He believed that his adopted parents were his real parents so he moved to Thebes so he would not fulfill what the oracle had predicted as his fate. Oedipus was a character that had a certain way of feeling sure about himself. Many people act this way, but this are the same kind of people that spend their time searching for the truth about themselves. I believe that his pride was his biggest character flaw and because of this, the conclusion of the play was tragic. He feels that he has to take responsibility for his actions even though he had no control over them and fate was to blame. Yet many aspects could have been avoiding with extensive research about his background from his adoptive parents, but because he avoided this, his circumstance determined his fate.
His fate was sealed by his actions of pride and determination. His pride of conquering the Sphinx led him to the marriage of Jocasta, his mother. Many people use pride as a weapon to cover their feelings.
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The character of each individual has certain positive and negative attributes that affect the choices that he or she makes. People insist that fate can be changed if it is explored. In my experience I used to feel, that if I went to get my tarot read, I could avoid situations or prepare for them. I used to go to these places for the truth, but realized that the truth is already destined and the fate that is given to each one of us is from God. For Oedipus, one of the attributes that affected his ultimate destination in life was his intense desire for knowledge and truth, ignoring the signs of the gods. The debate over fate vs. free choice has been raging for a long time. Some People believe that fate dominates a person's entire life, and that all events are inevitable. Others feel that we are free to make choices in life and that fate has absolutely no role in our lives. People can always choose their own direction in life, but some things in life are unavoidable. The more people try to change for better choice, the harder it gets to change.
In conclusion, I believe that Sophocles believed in both fate and free will, but mainly that man has free will, it just exists within fate and the limitations that go along with it. In other words, that man makes his own choices, but not if they go directly against fate. The life and fate of Oedipus was that of tragic circumstances. However, whether or not Oedipus's tragic fall was produced by forces beyond his control or by aspects of his character that led to errors in his judgment and action. That is, fate exists, but ultimately man makes his own decisions and bears the responsibility for them. One's ending is already determined, but free will decides how one gets there to their destination. Oedipus mistake was not killing his father and marrying his mother, it was trying to go against the gods and fate. Choices made along the road are yours alone, but it is my believe that God has already decided where we are going.