Determinism vs Freewill

Topics: Free will, Oedipus the King, Oedipus Pages: 2 (712 words) Published: January 25, 2013
Sophocles’ play Oedipus explores many aspects of human existence; however, one of its sole themes is determinism versus free will. Sophocles suggests that every individual is not only born with a preordained destiny, but also granted the abilities to mold and shape the plots of their own lives.  Throughout the play, many characters encounter situations where the decisions they make alter the outcome of their futures.  In the play Oedipus the King, characters such as Jocasta, Laius and Oedipus face decisions and then subsequently struggle with the emanations of making such choices.  "... fate would make him meet his end through a son, a son of his and mine... Is left by Laius (through other hands of course) upon a trackless hillside." (P40. Jocasta). After the prophecy from the oracle, Jocasta and Laius abandon their infant son in the trackless hillside to die for a prophecy with questionable accuracy. The action of Jocasta and Laius is out of freewill and is not god determined, because as a mother and a father, they both encompass the ability of making decisions for themselves and their infant son. However, in this case, Oedipus is a helpless infant and did not possess the ability of making any choices. The place and setting of his birth determined the outcome of his parents abandoning him. The decision Jocasta and Laius made is out of free will, and in this scenario, Oedipus was a victim of fate. Oedipus was indeed once a victim of fate. However, a single instant in his life does not have to shape the rest of his existence. Throughout the play, the audience is made aware of the choices Oedipus could have made to avoid his tragic ending. “At dinner once, a drunkard in his cup brawls out ‘Aha! You are not your father’s son.’ Or I will make my mother wife, my father dead: my father Polybus, who reared and gave me life (Oedipus Pg44-45). During scenes of the play, numerous hints about his origin were revealed, but Oedipus chose to remain oblivious about the...
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