Is Oedipus a Victim of Fate?

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Fate the un-avoidable

Throughout the vast history of literature, various concepts have come and gone. The idea of fate or fatalism has been a concept that has survived the test of time. Numerous characters have succumbed to the power of fate and the character of Oedipus from Sophocles’ Oedipus the King is a prime example of the vast power of fate within literature. Sophocles effectively depicts the wrath of fate as he portrays how Oedipus fell victim to fate and his efforts to disregard fate were futile. Once again fate manages to triumph and displays no character whether king or slave can avoid its gaze.

One can attempt to change his or her fate. Numerous beings have put their entire lives into avoiding fate. Even if the strength of the earth and heaven united, what is decree as fate can only manifest itself according to time. However, in various situations one’s fate can be determined before the being is even given life. This is the very situation Oedipus was unknowingly born into. Before Sophocles would begin his play viewers would already have an idea of the play’s prologue. The prologue detailed Oedipus’s rise to king and more importantly his connection with fate. Oedipus was born to Laius King of Thebes and his wife Queen Jocasta. Before his birth Laius and Jocasta were given an ominous message by the god Apollo stating that their own son would kill his father and marry his mother. Soon after the revelation of this message, Oedipus was born. In order to avoid his fate, Laius crippled Oedipus’s ankle and gave him to a shepherd instructing the shepherd to leave Oedipus to die in the mountains. The saying “Father like Son” is ironically portrayed here. Laius did the same thing Oedipus tried throughout the play, avoiding fate. Even while planning his own son’s demise Laius was just portraying the qualities his own son would grow to inherit. As Oedipus falters in his clash with fate so does Laius as one learns in the prologue, Oedipus grows up and...
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