The tragic play “Oedipus Rex” describes the life of Oedipus and the events that led to his ultimate downfall. Through specific dialogue and narrative progression “Oedipus Rex” is able to convey Oedipus as a victim of fate, and although the play was written many years ago, Oedipus’ experience can still be interpreted by modern society to debate whether or not man is in control of his/her own destiny.
The over arching theme of fate, or a predetermined destiny, is developed throughout the story, through specific dialogue and progression of the story. In the beginning when Oedipus was an infant, he was prophesized to be the one who would overthrow his father and marry his wife. Fearing this, King Laios, ordered Oedipus to be killed. This is the first example of fate. If Oedipus would have died as a baby, the prophecy would not have occurred; however, Iokaste took pity on him and spared his life, allowing Oedipus to fulfill his destiny. As the story progresses, Oedipus flees Corinth in fear of the prophecy, but in doing so, only reassures Oedipus as a victim of fate. The battle between fate and fortune is an everlasting theme in “Oedipus Rex” each developed as the story progresses. Oedipus would like to believe that he controls his own destiny and that the decisions he makes will alter the future, however, as the story continues, every action Oedipus takes only serves to solidify his destiny.
After the priest tells Oedipus of the plague and suffering, Oedipus sends for Kreon to talk to the oracle. Kreon returned with the oracle’s message. “My Lord: Laios once ruled this land, before you came to govern us. He was murdered; and Apollo commands us now to take revenge upon whoever killed him.” (107-111) From there on, every decision Oedipus makes, only contributes to his realization and downfall. As Oedipus pursues Laios’ killer, he only further contributes to his own self incrimination. By demanding to talk to Kreon, Teiresias, Iokaste, and the...
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