Oedipus

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Human Nature: Fate vs. Free Will

For centuries, it has been human nature to strive for freedom. We struggle to create our own futures, regardless of our presumed fate. Songwriters, artists and even play writes constantly include stories of free will and destiny. Sophocles, a famous Greek playwright, beautifully includes fate and free will as themes in his plays Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus. This motif is so abundant in Greek literature because oftentimes characters try to avoid an oracle that they don’t want to accept to be true; this opens up an opportunity for human nature to fight fate, which is what Sophocles sets the basis for his plays. Although each character’s fate is chosen for them, they try to fight their destiny because they want a brighter future. In Oedipus the King, there are two major oracles that cause Oedipus to fight for a different fate. The oracle declared, ”…doom would strike him down at the hands of a son, our son, to be born of our own flesh and blood” (Sophocles, Oed 786-788) this is in reference to his father, and also that Oedipus was, “ fated to couple with your mother, you will bring a breed of children into the light no man can bear to see- you will kill your father, the one who gave you life” (Sophocles, Oed 873-875). These two events happen very quickly in the play and from then on he tries to fight his fate. As he struggles, his destiny is becoming more of a reality without him knowing. This makes Oedipus a tragic character, because he purposefully tries to make only good, but ends up killing his father, and marrying his own mother. One could argue that if Oedipus never heard the fate from the oracle, he wouldn’t have tried to avoid it the way he did, and could have possibly changed his own destiny. This makes the oracle that Oedipus received a self fulfilling prophesy, meaning that the existence of the fate created such a distaste in the mind of Oedipus that it consumed him and made it a reality. Oedipus is a man...
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