The Themes Of Fate And Fate In Oedipus The King

1432 Words6 Pages
Destiny and fate both play a similar role in this play. These are two crucial themes that are central to the play; they have a devastating impact on the story line and unleash terror on the characters. Fate is one of the opposition elements of the play that is influenced by one’s own action but ultimately is dictated by events beyond anybody’s control. By elevating the importance of fate, Sophocles suggests that characters cannot be fully responsible for their actions, but instead, they are unaware that their destiny is controlled by a supreme power. These two main themes cause tragedy and despair to many characters, however, the most affected one is King Oedipus.

In the Greek tragedy, “Oedipus the King”, the irony of fate and destiny is
…show more content…
However despite Oedipus’ best efforts and reassurances, he was unable to avoid the prophecy that he was destined from birth to fulfil. Oedipus eagerly attempts to discover the truth, acting determinedly and scrupulously exposing himself to the reality. When Sophocles states “Laius was murdered, but not by his own son” it shows an example of dramatic irony. What the characters easily accept is that the Gods have already decreed their fate even before they were born, and that the possibilities to overcome their destiny are inexistent. For example, Oedipus was condemned such a miserable destiny because his father, King Lauis, went against the God’s will, by having a male child. This concept was readily accepted in an ancient Greek society where it was believed that gods constantly interfered in the lives of humans, making them do whatever they thought was right. This shows their powerless and vulnerable position compare to the mighty Gods. “Thou hast no power // o’er me or any man who sees the sun” is said by Oedipus to show that no human being can have control over him, but only the God’s.

In this tragic play, the author uses dramatic irony as a literary technique to create suspense. It is fairly ironic that King Oedipus flees from his birth family to avoid the prophecy from coming to pass when in fact, he does not know that he is running straight into his destiny. A quotation
…show more content…
His destiny decided by the God’s is particularly cruel and pitiless since the oracle of Delphi decided that his fate was to kill his father and marry his mother. An ancient Greek audience would accept the wisdom of the gods. However, Sophocles’ skill as a playwright is to challenge the ancient Greek received wisdom: even though Oedipus ought to accept his destiny because of some heinous sin committed by his forefathers, he inspires sympathy in the audience by using dramatic irony. Oedipus dire warning as he imposes on himself the penalty of exile: “severe sentence // will be exile” shows the reader that Oedipus is ignorant of the fact that he is the guilty one and that therefore he is inadvertently condemning his own future and his own life. Also, the quotation “I curse him” is another example of dramatic irony since the King is unaware that he is cursing himself and consequently, putting at risk and at danger his own future. This again shows the strength of the God’s who are able to arrange and decide people’s destiny. Later on the play, the audience discover him as being “blind” since he does not manage to see the truth about himself. Therefore, this makes him exposed and vulnerable to his unknown and unwanted devastating destiny. Sophocles uses the quote: “For blind of seeing” to show that Oedipus frequently
Get Access