Questions On ' The Guilt Of Oedipus '

1574 WordsDec 5, 20167 Pages
Section II: Counterarguments Free Will and Hamartia Counterargument #1: P. H. Vellacott for Free Will Many classicists believe that Oedipus’s fall is due to his Free will and the decisions he makes. Those who hold this belief hold that Oedipus made his own decisions, which is what led to his fall and that he was not compelled by some external source. P. H. Vellacott is a strong supporter of this theory. As such, in his famous essay, “The Guilt of Oedipus,” Vellacott argues that, factually speaking, Oedipus must have at one point thought to himself, “If the man I killed was my father, and if I overcome the Sphinx and marry the queen, the oracle will be exactly fulfilled, and I shall have only myself to blame,” (Vellacott 213). In other words, Oedipus, knowing the prophecy given to him, must have understood the risk he was taking in possibly fulfilling the prophecy. What Vellacott is claiming then, is that Oedipus made the choice to approach the Sphinx, in turn risking the fulfillment of that awful prophecy for the reward of a throne. Furthermore, Oedipus, in making this choice brings upon himself the curse that we are addressed within the Oedipus Rex and it is his fault alone, because he chose to take a risk. In Sophocles play, there was no investigation of the murder of king Laius; “Oedipus: Trouble? What could have kept you from investigating the death of your king? Creon: The Sphinx. The Sphinx was confounding us with her riddles, forcing us to abandon our search for the

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