Karina Lazcano Oedipus the King by Sophocles English Literature Anderson Many will argue that fate cannot be escaped in Oedipus the King by Sophocles, where the main character is portrayed as a tragic hero with a predetermined fate. Both the concept of fate and freewill played an innate part in Oedipus' downfall. The play suggests that fate dominates over free will. Oedipus never had control of his fate; the day his mother gave birth to him, his parents attempted to kill him in order to prevent the prophecy. “True: it is not from me your fate will come.
That lies within Apollo’s competence, as it is his concern” (75, 159-160). Oedipus fate was the God’s will that damned him since birth. Fate mastered free will when Oedipus’ pride overruns his arrogance and leads him to leave the parents he thought were his biological parents. Only to come that his arrogance drove him closer to his biological parents and doomed by the curse of Thebes. Consequently, Sophocles points out that as much as free will takes place, life is predetermined. Oedipus tries his best to avoid the prophecy that Teiresias predicted; that he will murder his father and marry his mother.
Oedipus tried to change his fate by moving away, in reality it only brought him closer to his crossroads fate. Jean de La Fontaine once said, “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. ” Oedipus confronts his biological father in an intersection, then killing his father with his bare hands, just as the oracle that was told to him. Killing King Laios started a new problem; Thebes was now under a new plague that leads Oedipus the King to find the murderer of the King Laios. “.. The Sphinx was performing here, What help were you to these people?...
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But I came by, Oedipus, the simple man, who knows nothing- I thought it out for myself, no birds helped me! ”(75, 175-182) Pride and confidence led Oedipus, the King of Thebes to guide and protect his people but in reality Oedipus’ free will only created a path, for which prolonged the search of the murderer of Laios. Oedipus promises that “once more [he] must bring what is dark to light” (71, 134). Creating new problem that he will save the people from the plague by finding the murderer of King Laios, in which ironically he is trying to save from himself.
According to Fosso, “thebe’s plague, and have lived on in happy albeit plague-ridden ignorance…. his happiness would simply be that of not knowing that he had fulfilled his horrible destiny”. Even though the plague was caused by Oedipus himself he finally figured out the truth about his birth, Iocaste also figured out before her suicide that fate itself was inevitable. Even though Laios, Iocaste, and Oedipus all tried to escape their fate, it was bound to be sooner or later. Iocaste told Oedipus she was positive his fate was not to become true, because she is skeptical of prophecies.
Since at first Iocaste thought that her son was dead, she sent for his death and her husband was killed by a group of thieves but she slowly uncovers the truth and tries to slowly tie Oedipus down for comfort. “Why should anyone in this world be afraid, since fates rules us and nothing can be foreseen? A man should live only for the present day. Have no more fear of sleeping with your mother: how many men, in dreams, have lain with their mothers! No reasonable man is troubled by such things” (84, 64-69). She becomes upset of Oedipus’ attempts to find out the truth about his birth.
Iocaste plays two roles in the play, as a mother and as a spouse. When Iocaste realizes that the prophecy did come true, she tries to tell him that the future does not matter. At the end Oedipus does not take in mind her advice, it is brutal for her as she knows what will happen and kills herself. Teiresias also plays a big role in the play as he has Oedipus begging for the truth. “But I say that you, with both your eyes, are blind: You cannot see the wretchedness of your life, nor in whose house you live, no, nor with whom. Who are your father and mother? Can you tell me?
You do not even know the blind wrongs that you have done them but the double lash of your parents’ curse will whip you out of this land someday, with only night upon your precious eye”(75, 196-205). Tiresias predicts that Oedipus will end up blind and out of Thebes . Oedipus denies almost all of it and disrespects him. But Teiresias himself knows his inevitable fate. The play shows that fate is unavoidable without regard of the things done to avoid it. When Iocaste and Oedipus himself try to avoid the truth, Iocaste finally realizes that her ex-husband Laios, and herself could not defy fate. Everything that I say is for your own good! ”(86, 147) Iocaste then tries to become a mother figure for Oedipus and intends to steer him away from his promise to the people of Thebes. King Oedipus used his power to help him find the truth, in which he was blinded himself from. Seeking the truth was Oedipus own free will, nobody else made the decision to seek the murderer of Thebes but himself. His arrogance did not allow him to question himself. In a nutshell, Oedipus feels a sense of remorse as he realizes all the pain he has cause for his family and himself. But the blinding hand was my own! How could I bear to see when all my sight was horror everywhere? ” (90, 112-13) However, now that he is blind he can now “see” his madness. At this point we see all pride, all arrogance set aside as Oedipus confesses that his freewill worked hand in hand with his fate. Oedipus was ultimately controlled by fate and not free will. Oedipus lost his wife, he lost his eyesight, and he lost his children, and lost his crown. To a certain extent, we see Oedipus downfall, his pride and arrogance led to this discovery which resulted in him losing everything that he had.
Oedipus’ overall attempt of free will to raise his level of the gods and trying to avoid his own fate failed. Works Cited Dudley, Fitts, and Fitzgerland Robert. "Oedipus the King (. 430 B. C. ). " Trans. Array. Orlando, FL: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 1977. 67-93. Print. Apr. 2013 Fosso, Kurt. "Oedipus crux: reasonable doubt in Oedipus the King. " College Literature 39. 3 (2012): 26+. Literature Resource Center. Web. Apr. 2013. Jean de La Fontaine . “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. " Think exist. Web. Apr 2013.
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