In our world today, fate vs. free will remains the biggest mystery of all, the Greeks believed that there is an underlying relationship of free mans will exist within fate which the Greeks believed guided the universe in a harmonious purpose. Man was free to choose and was ultimately held responsible for his own actions. A wise man will make good decisions in his life; an ignorant and stubborn man won't be so fortunate. The play “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles demonstrates that this concept of free will and fate would lead to Oedipus’s downfall. Oedipus learns of his fate and immediately tries to prevent it; even his parents did the same. The actions Oedipus, Jocasta, and Laios took actually fulfilled the prophecy the Oracle told them. The fact that Oedipus tried to avoid his prophecy, he falls right into it. Sophocles illuminates that Oedipus’s pride, ignorance, arrogance and disbelief in the gods, and unrelenting journey for the truth contribute to his own downfall.
Oedipus was on thin ice through the play and as a result it leads to his own down fall. When Oedipus was told that he was responsible for the murder of Laios, he became enraged and called the old oracle a liar. He ran away from his home, Corinth, in hopes of outsmarting destiny. Thebes was struck with a plague that can only be stopped by finding Laios’ killer. Oedipus tells Kreon that he curses the killer of Laios to live in exile, “Now my curse on the murderer, Whoever he is a lone man unknown in his crime or one among many, let that man drag out his life in agony, step by painful step” (280). This quote shows free will because Oedipus tells Kreon that whoever is the killer of Laios, he is going to punish them severally. Oedipus has fulfilled his terrible prophecy in the past, but without knowing it. His decisions throughout the play set him closer to fulfilling the prophecy. He wasn’t forced to marry Jocasta; it was his decision to do so. Oedipus’s destruction comes not from his deeds themselves...
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