Fate in Oedipus Rex

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Dennis Terrey

Period Two

English IV AP

Through Sophocles' use of foreshadowing in the play Oedipus Rex, certain truths

are revealed to the reader, such as the fact that a lack of respect for fate can eventually

bring on a person's downfall, by driving them to delusion. Oedipus is looked up to by all

his kingdom at the opening of the play, only to be thwarted by his own lack of

intelligence-- and more by his lack of faith than even that. Oedipus, once the sanguine, yet

slightly overbearing ruler of the people, is reduced to less than a sliver of a human being.

When confronted by the prophet Teiresius, Oedipus feels most perplexed and even

exposed. And so he rejects any possibility of validity in Teiresius' prognostication, and, in

doing this, signs his own sentence. Because of Oedipus' failure to respect the insight of a

gifted seer, he is doomed to a blind and bloody end.

As I have said before, Oedipus was first revered by all his people. His earnest

patriotism for his adoptive land and people are well received by all in his kingdom. After

all, he is the most "glorious Oedipus" (p.13,ln.8). Oedipus perceives himself to be a

flawless champion for those surrounding him. These blind expectations that the most

exalted Oedipus has for himself are the very things that lead him to put little credence in

others and nearly all his faith in himself. And once he decides he is stronger than prophecy,

his mad, unseeing eyes are unable to pick up the warning signs lining his road to oblivion.

At one point in the play, the blind, hermaphroditic Teiresius enters to bring

Oedipus' head out of the clouds and back to earth where things are a mite different. This

is one point of the play in which Oedipus is unbelievably close to finally buying into the

fact that some power higher than himself could be at work-- and yet his arrogance and

pride hinder him from accepting the legitimacy of fate. Oedipus...
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