Oedipus: Man Cannot Escape His Fate

880 WordsMay 5, 20114 Pages
Oedipus the King: Fighting Fate “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” (Jean de la Fontaine), a sobering reminder of the extent to which Oedipus and his parents, Jocasta and Laius from the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles fight a predetermined course plotted for them by the gods and written by the oracles, only for it to transpire tragically. Despite the inevitability of destiny Oedipus, Laius and Jocasta defy fate with the entirety of their being, for to acknowledge the lack of free will is to live in anguish. Both Oedipus and his parents attempt to separate themselves from each other in an attempt to avoid their foretold fate. Unfortunately, they suffer the realization that, in spite of their intentions,…show more content…
Jocasta is forced out of denial and commits suicide at the same time that Oedipus discovers the truth. She feels so guilty for her despicable actions which could not alter the prophecy’s course and for her incestuous sins that she takes her own life to end the suffering. Oedipus’s blinding and banishment are penance self-inflicted because of the guilt he feels for the sins he committed. Likewise, Jocasta’s suicide is because of her own guilt. This intentionality as they meet their fate and their swift, excessive actions as they avoid it are a true show of how man will always endeavor to cast off the binds of spiteful providence. Death, physical suffering and ostracism are preferable to the agony of the acquiescence to a predetermined course. All people need to feel that they can actively forge their own niche in life despite the pressures, routines and expectations that are placed upon them in society. “Whatever limits [man], [he] [calls] fate”(Ralph Waldo Emerson) and man must fight these barriers, even if insurmountable, to live, or accept them and merely exist. Works Cited De La Fontaine, Jean. "The Horoscope." Book VIII. Ed. Jean De La Fontaine. 1678-679. Print. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "The Conduct Of Life." Infomotions. Infomotions, LLC, 27 Dec. 2005. Web. 05 Apr. 2011. . Sophocles. The Theban Plays: King Oedipus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone. Trans. E. F. Watling. Penguin, 1947.
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