BS 3rd year
Departmen of English
Submitted to: Ma’am Fehmina Naz
Submitted on: 19th September 2011
Argument in Favor of Oedipus’ Fate
Play: Oedipus Rex
No one can deny freewill of a person totally, so as fate. But as I m in favor of Oedipus, the protagonist of ancient Greek play “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles. I think here in it, fate is more responsible for Oedipus’ end.
Many questions were raised against Oedipus in class argument about his character flaws, running from the fate, killing his father, marrying his mother, and insulting prophet etc. Here I would try to answer as much I can.
Firstly it is important to mention that, it is the play which had great importance for Aristotle. Because the rules made by him, had great influence from the famous Greek play “Oedipus Rex”. If we see it in the perspective of “Poetics”, then no one can blame Oedipus for his faults and sinful acts which led him to tragic end. Because, firstly it is a tragedy not comedy, so it should have a tragic end in any case. Secondly according to Aristotelian rules, the hero should have some major faults in him (hamartia) which led him to tragic end.
I don’t think it’s Oedipus’ fault at all. If anyone is to blame, it’s his parents. His parents were trying to run away from fate and wound their child with cruelness by hitting nail on his ankle and letting their child to die on mountains. They were only trying to protect themselves, but still it was his fate that he was remained alive. Jocasta herself admitting that;
But this child had not been three days in this world before the King had pierced the baby’s ankles and left him to die in a lonely mountain side.
Here the point is that if they were cruel enough to hit nail in their own infant child’s ankle and not murdering him at once but leaving him to die on mountains, then why didn’t they kill him themselves? By this the chance of being alive would not be there nor would the prophecy be fulfilled.
Furthermore it was also being asked that why he listen to a drunker and took him seriously? So for this, my answer is, if someone told you that you had no parents, then wouldn’t you want to know what he meant? Oedipus went to his foster parents and asked about it, but they refused and told him that he was their own child. Here again question was raised why he didn’t ask and conform again so, it was possible that he respect his parents a lot and didn’t want to hurt them or may be because of generation gap. As nowadays children are quite close to their parents but in earlier times it was not the case. Moreover as Polybus was a king, so generation gap was a normal thing, because usually, due to their status kings were not close to their children even, as normal fathers are. After that he went to oracle to know the truth. But here he was not answered what he had asked, because of which he was not able to clear his mind but was more confused. Someone asked during class argument that why he didn’t asked again from the oracle to be cleared, then another student answered that it is forbidden in every religion not to cross question from the God. But here my point is that, in Greek, oracles never told clear prophecies, they always gave hints, and then it was on the person’s intellect, who asked it, to interpret the right meaning. So if Oedipus asked the same question again, he was surely going to have the same answer, means it was for no purpose.
The god dismissed my question without reply; he spoke of other things. Some were clear, full of wretchedness, dreadful, unbearable: As, that I should lie with my own mother, breed children from whom all men would turn their eyes; and that I should be my father’s murderer….
After that he decided to leave the place with confused thoughts. On the way he met with Laius and his servants, where they had a fight that who will first cross the road. One of Laius’ servant...