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Oedipus Free Will Vs Fate

914 words - 4 pages

Oedipus as the Puppet and the Puppeteer The misfortunes that befall Oedipus the King in Sophocles' play show a fundamental relationship between the will of the gods and man's free will. The ancient Greeks believed that the gods ruled the universe and had an irrefutable role in the conditions of man's existence. Man was free to make his own choices but was ultimately held responsible for his actions. The concepts of free will and fate play an integral role in Oedipus' destruction. Although he was a victim of fate, Oedipus was not completely controlled by it.Inevitably, Oedipus will fulfill the prophecy delivered by the oracle before his birth. He tries to avoid his fate and believes that he ...view middle of the document...

During his travels, Oedipus meets with a "brace of colts/drawing a wagon", and after being thrust off the road he reacts violently and kills all but one man. Oedipus fled because he was afraid he would fulfill the prophecy. His actions support the argument that free will does exist. He knew what was prophesized yet still acted in rage and committed murder rather than trying to avoid it.Oedipus cannot be held responsible for the life set out for him by the gods. He can, however, be accused of having too much pride, which inevitably leads to his own downfall. Perhaps he could not have prevented the actual patricide and smarmy incest, but he could have allowed himself to realize his identity. Oedipus is merely an unfortunate victim of circumstance. He possesses the ability to make his own decisions within the structure created by the gods. Oedipus displayed free will by killing Laius at the crossroads and could have prevented his sins but only temporarily. If it had not been at that time, he would have fulfilled the prophecy later.Disgusted by his sins and his blindness to them, Oedipus literally puts himself in the dark. The chorus asks him "what superhuman power" drove him to it and he replies that "the hand that struck my eyes was mine,/mine alone""no one else""/ I did it myself!" He will not accept fate as his downfall. Jocasta also tries to...

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