Oedipus The King Essay

655 words - 3 pages

The story of Oedipus the King, is about his destiny and choices he makes along the way. Oedipus from the beginning was destined to kill his father and marry his mother. The God’s had already set this life for the king, but they never expected him to make the decisions he made to fulfill his destiny.
When the play begins, the citizens of Thebes are begging their king, Oedipus, to take away the plague that threatens to destroy the city. Oedipus sent his brother-in-law, Kreon, to talk to the oracle at Delphi to learn on what to do. When he returned, Kreon announced that the oracle instructed the city to find the murderer of Laios, the king who ruled Thebes before Oedipus. As soon as they find out who murdered the late king, it would be an end to the plague. Oedipus took upon himself to find out who murdered the king. Tiresias, the blind prophet refuses to speak, but finally accuses Oedipus himself of ...view middle of the document...

When Oedipus heard the prophecy that he is going to kill his father and sleep with his mother he ran away, even when he knew there were suspicions of him being the real son of his parents. The prophecy was bound to happen, no matter what he may have done to avoid it, but his actions that he did before were determined by fate. When he learned of Apollo's word, he could have calmly investigated the murder of the former King Laios, but instead, he passionately curses the murderer, and in so, unknowingly curses himself, "O light! Let this be the last time I look on you.” His pride, ignorance and disbelief in the gods, and unrelenting quest for the truth ultimately contributed to his destruction. When the truth is revealed, Jokasta is the first to react; she hangs herself in the bedroom. Later, her husband/son finds her, takes her body down, and then proceeds to tear his eyes out with her pins. As he is stabbing at his eyes, he screams, "Eyes, now you will not, no, never see the evil I suffered, the evil I caused.” Not only were Oedipus and Jokasta's reactions to the truth very extreme and passionate, they were also completely their own. Therefore the last act of destruction was caused by Oedipus' free will, but his tragic fate came about because every sin must be punished. There was no prophecy that predicted Oedipus would poke his eyes out and Jokasta would hang herself. The people involved were completely responsible for their actions. Technically, everything that happened in the play was outside of the prophecy since the prophecy was fulfilled before the story even started, so therefore, there is no fate in Oedipus the King.
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. 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. All in all, we learned that our destiny is set, but the path we take to get there is not.

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