Fate and Free-Will in Sophocles' Oedipus the King
In Sophocles' Oedipus the King, the themes of fate and free will are very strong throughout the play. Only one, however, brought about Oedipus' downfall and death. Both points could be argued to great effect. In ancient Greece, fate was considered to be a rudimentary part of daily life. Every aspect of life depended and was based upon fate (Nagle 100). It is common belief to assume that mankind does indeed have free will and each individual can decide the outcome of his or her life. Fate and free will both decide the fate of Oedipus the King.
Both sides of the argument can be greatly supported. The Greeks believed in the idea that personality of the individual greatly affected his or her life (Nagle 120). Their personality was what decides their own free will. A wise man will make good decisions in his life; an ignorant and stubborn man won't be so fortunate. The character traits of a person have a certain positive or negative affect on the choices that he or she makes. For Oedipus, one of these attributes was the desire for knowledge and truth about his own existence. This driving force in the play led to the truth of his origin. This ties in with his own aspect of free will. His free will is based on his drive for knowledge.
Throughout the entire play, Oedipus pushes Tiresias, Creon, Jocasta, the oracle, the messenger, and the shepherd for information regarding his beginnings. Each one of these characters in some way or form refused to give him a thorough answer. As he draws closer to the answer, another character tries to stop his journey. Oedipus continues moving onward even though others request he didn't. "Oh no, listen to me, I beg you, don't do this....Listen to you? No more. I must know it all, see the truth at last " (Sophocles 195). His desire for truth kept pushing him to continue his search, ultimately leading to his downfall. The entire time Oedipus had the...
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