Oedipus the King: Fate Vs Free Will Essay

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Oedipus the King, was written by Sophocles between C.A.496-406B.C. In this play, Oedipus is a great example of Sophocles’ belief that fate will control a man’s life no matter how much free will exists. Oedipus is a man of unflagging determination and perseverance, but one who must learn through the working out of a terrible prophecy that there are forces beyond any man’s conceptualization or control. Oedipus’ actions were determined before his birth, yet Oedipus’ actions are entirely determined by the Gods who control him completely. In the beginning of this tragedy, Oedipus took many actions leading to his own downfall. He tried to escape Corinth when he learned of the prophecies that were supposed to take place in his life. Instead, he…show more content…
Oedipus doesn’t realize the personal consequences his hunt for the murderer will have for him, and his loyalty to the truth is based on his ignorance. His pride, ignorance and unrelenting quest for the truth ultimately contributed to his destruction. An example is when Oedipus was told [after threatening Tiresias], that he was responsible for the murder of Laius. He became enraged and called the old oracle a liar. However, Oedipus thought he could outsmart the gods, but in fact, his every action moved him closer to the prophesy becoming a reality. Upon discovery of the truth of his birth from the herdsman, Oedipus cries, “O god all come true, all burst to light!/O light now let me look my last on you!/I stand revealed at last cursed in my birth, cursed in marriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands”. (631). Oedipus knew that his fate had indeed come to pass and feels cursed by it. Oedipus was guilt, of killing his father and marrying his mother. He punishes himself for the sins he committed by gouging out his eyes. The true sin is when he attempts to raise himself to the level of the gods by trying to escape his fate. Oedipus is accepting the full burden of his acts and knows that he must be punished for his sins. Therefore, this last act of gouging out his eyes was the result of Oedipus’ free will and his tragic fate came about because every sin must
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