Fate vs. Free Will: Oedipus Rex
Oedipus’ ignorance, disrespect, and unending search for the truth ultimately contribute to his free willing destruction of
life and the completion of prophecy.
Fate is the theory that our lives are “predetermined” for us, and the concept that states that humans have the choice to
choose what decisions they make in life is know as free will. Society tends to generally feel that free will is the presiding
element in their lives. It is important to distinguish reality from figment ideas like the belief that your life is “controlled by
fate”; we live in a world where fantasies do not exist and truth surrounds us everyday. Ignoring this makes you ignorant to
the truth; blind to reality and open to fanciful theories-fate-that close your existence to the real world.
Free will is definitely the controlling factor in uncovering the truth about Oedipus’ prophecy. He governs all the choices
and many obstacles he undergoes alone, including: Oedipus fleeing from Corinth, the riddle being solved, the refusal to quit
the search for truth and the supposed fated events, like the death of his father, the marriage to his mother, and the encounter
with the drunken man.
After Tiresias, a man who foreshadows the future, informs Oedipus what lies ahead he flees from Corinth. "When I heard
this, and in the days that followed I would measure from the stars the whereabouts of Corinth-yes, I fled to somewhere where
I should not see fulfilled the infamies told in that dreadful oracle" (Sophocles 792-793). If we as humans were told a fate that
would ruin our lives, we would all free willingly try to hide from it. It was not fate that led him to flee from Corinth but the
human instinct to hide from the truth. Another major event leading to the fulfillment of the prophecy is when Oedipus solves
the riddle in Thebes. The Sphinx asks Oedipus, “What walks on four legs in the