Oedipus Essay

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Escaping Fate

Persistence, a good quality or not? The Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, was

written by Sophocles, and is about a man doomed by his fate. While trying to escape

his fate, Oedipus ran right into it. He ended up killing his father, marrying his

mother, and having children by her. He later stabbed his eyes out, and exiled himself

when he found out who he really was. Both fate and freewill occur in this epic.

Oedipus’s life was determined by an oracle early on, but he didn’t want to

accept it so he spent his whole life escaping it.

Oedipus’s life is doomed from the start with a horrible fate. For example,

Teiresias is trying to help Oedipus saying, “Bare your own fate and I’ll bare mine.”

(pg. 215 line 308) This quote shows that Teiresias is only wanting to save Oedipus

from finding out a horrible truth. This line is important because it shows that

Teiresias does not want to get involved with what is to come. In addition, Jocasta is

told that Oedipus’s father Polybus has died when the messenger tells her, “This was

the man whom Oedipus, long ago feared so, fled so, in dread of destroying him-but it

was another fate by which he died.”(pg. 239 line 900) This conveys that either

Oedipus was adopted, or that fate is all a lie. This scene is important because it will

either make or break Oedipus based on how he thinks about this news. Oedipus is

finally told the news of Polybus’s death and Jocasta says, “why should anyone in this

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world be afraid, since fate rules us and nothing can be forseen?”(pg. 241 line 929)

This shows that Oedipus is still worried about one more part of his fate. This is

valuable because Oedipus should be happy that he didn’t fulfill his fate, but as we

find out later, he really did complete his fate. As a result of Oedipus trying to avoid

his fate, he really ran right into it.

Oedipus ran into his fate by his own freewill. For example, Oedipus asks

queen Jocasta, “But who told you how it happenened?” (pg. 230 line 711) This ahoqa

that king Oedipus persists to find out more information. This is important because

this is Oedipus’s tragic flaw, and it dooms him throughout the play. In addition,

Oedipus tells queen Jocasta the reason that he left Corinth, is because he heard his

terrible fate and he tells Jocasta, “I heard all this and fled.” (pg. 232 line 752) This

conveys that Oedipus is a strong believer in the oracle, and that he wants to try and

escape his fate. This is meaningful because it shows his freewill about how he

wanted to leave Corinth for himself. Furthermore, Oedipus makes the messenger

finally tell him that Jocasta is his mother saying, “What do you mean? In the name of

god tell me!” (pg. 242 line 958) This illustrates that Oedipus is a demanding leader

and he insists to get the truth. This is valuable because Oedipus could have left

everything as is from the start but instead he probedfurther and further for the

truth. As a result of Oedipus’s tragic flaw, he makes bad choices leading to his

eventual downfall.

Oedipus’s tragic ending of him ending his days of leadership in his self

blinding and him exiling himself were all caused by his freewill, but also were

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predicted by the oracle as his fate. Everyone has there own freewill to make the

choices they want, these free choices can either make fate come true or avoid it

completely. But in the story of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus’s choices that he made

throughout the play all were the wrong choices to avoid his fate. Therefore, when

Oedipus first heard his fate he ran from it, and he went to go to new lands and live a

life without his fate. But instead, he traveled the roads to this new place, and on the

way he killed his father, but he did not know it was his father. So, some could argue

that it was all fate that lead to...
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