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Oedipus: Fate vs. Free will

The reading of the play “Oedipus Rex” requires the reader to decide whether Oedipus’ downfall was a result of fate or that of his own free will. The first choice suggests that Oedipus’ life was decided from the onset while the latter proposes he is a tragic character and brought about his own misfortune. However, one may argue that while fate played an important role, ultimately it was Oedipus’ actions and the transition from ignorance to insight concerning his origins that resulted in his collapse. The Greeks believed in the power of the gods and of fate. Since Oedipus’ downfall was predicted by the oracle at his birth and again later in the play, one might say he could not stop the events from occurring. In this way, his suffering was inevitable. It was his destiny to be fulfilled, no matter how he reacted. However, this theory does not take into consideration the idea of hubris, the greatest sin to the Greeks. Clearly, Oedipus was guilty of this excessive pride with his inability to control his anger. He killed his father because of this flaw, not because it was fate. The oracle predicted what would happen to him as a result of his free will, not as a result of his birth. Oedipus murdered his father of his own free will. He says: “I struck him in my rage…I killed him. I killed them all.”(Scene 2, line 767) It was also his free will that made him persist in searching for the truth about his birth parents and childhood. He is warned many times not to continue, but he doesn’t listen. Teiresias tells him: “I do not intend to torture myself, or you. Why persist in asking?”(Scene 1, line 319) But Oedipus becomes enraged and insists Teiresias tell him what knowledge he has. Again Oedipus’ anger gets the best of him and he eventually finds out the truth. Until this point, Oedipus had not suffered as a result of fulfilling the oracle’s prediction. As they say, “Ignorance is bliss.” ...

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Oedipus: Fate vs. Free will. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 09:42, September 01, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/30624.html