Oedipus Rex by Sophocles: Victimized by Prophecy

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Oedipus Rex
“Fear? What should a man fear? It’s all chance, chance rules our lives. Not a man on earth can see a day ahead, groping through the dark. Better to live at random, best we can.” (lines 1068-1072) The themes of fate and light and darkness are prominent in Oedipus Rex, a play written in ancient Greece by the famous poet Sophocles. Oedipus was a powerful Greek king and was notable for his compassion, sense of justice and his swiftness of thought and action. Unfortunately for him, his life fell ill when the prophecy of his birth came true. Throughout the play, the audience experiences a series of emotions. They experience pity, fear, and anger. At the end of the play, the audience may or may not experience a katharsis, a cleansing or purgation of emotions. The dispute between whether Oedipus should be viewed as a victim or merely a part of the gods manifesting their power and thereby teaching man a lesson is a common argument still in literature today.

As many members of an audience believe, Oedipus can appear as having been victimized by the prophecy stricken upon him at birth. Oedipus, being born into such a horrible predicament, had no choice but to live his life as he did always afraid of the horrible outcome of his fate. His parents Laius and Jocasta chose to selfishly bind there son’s feet together and abandon him as a way of making sure they would never see him again and never be vulnerable to the day that Oedipus’ prophecy would come true. Therefore, the emotion of pity arises in the audience and Oedipus is viewed as a victim of a very tragic fate. However, it is important to consider whether he inflicted more agony into his life by trying to fight against his fate. Were the gods punishing Oedipus and ultimately all of mankind because of his retaliation? If so, not only was Oedipus punished, but also his parents were for interfering with the gods’ plans. Oedipus suffered the consequence of losing his sight and his mother committed suicide...
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