Oedipus: Fate vs. Free will

Length: 2 Pages 474 Words

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 t Continue...


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In this way, his suffering was inevitable. It was his destiny to be fulfilled, no matter how he reacted. He is warned many times not to continue, but he doesn't listen. In conclusion, although Oedipus' destiny was predicted from the inception of the play, he was solely responsible for both its realization and for the suffering that befell him as a result. Oedipus murdered his father of his own free will. (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. Teiresias tells him: "I do not intend to torture myself, or you. 1016) Oedipus acknowledges his culpability by saying: "Of all men, I alone can bear this guilt. He killed his father because of this flaw, not because it was fate. Until this point, Oedipus had not suffered as a result of fulfilling the oracle's prediction. Again Oedipus' anger gets the best of him and he eventually finds out the truth. He says: "I struck him in my rage...I killed him.