Theme Of Fate In Oedipus The King

Topics: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Sophocles Pages: 7 (1539 words) Published: October 3, 2015


Would you rather have an acute awareness of your own fate in life, or be blissfully ignorant of what the gods have in store for you? Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, translated by David Grene, explains knowledge as an awareness of the future, or fate. This knowledge can lead to a greater understanding as to one’s purpose in life, but in the end results in misery because humans try to control fate, which is impossible. Oedipus the King shows the results of learning fate and the moral price that comes with attempting to change the future. These results clarify the sorrows that knowledge brings to life through the predetermination of fate and the futility of divining one’s fate.
Peaceful ignorance of destiny is the simplest and most harmonious way...

By these actions, it is possible to live peacefully within the world. In Oedipus the King, Jocasta urges Oedipus to stop seeking out his own fate: “O Oedipus, God help you! God keep you from the knowledge of who you are!” (Sophocles, Oedipus the King, 1068). In his early years, Oedipus had heard a prophecy from the oracle at Delphi that foretold him murdering his own father and procreating with his mother. This prediction causes Oedipus to run away from his home to avoid his adoptive parents, whom Oedipus is afraid he will kill and marry, respectively. What Oedipus does not know however, is that he drives his predicted fate forward by his efforts to impede the prophecy. By avoiding his adoptive parents, Oedipus encounters his biological parents, and proceeds to unknowingly fulfill the prophecy. Jocasta suspects this is true before Oedipus realizes what he has done, and she prays that Apollo, the Greek god of truth and prophecy, will keep the knowledge hidden from Oedipus and thus spare his sanity. Jocasta knows that if Oedipus figures out who he really...

If Oedipus had died before he knew his fate, he says he would have been better off than living out his prophecy. He expresses his regret for learning of his destiny. Without the knowledge, Oedipus’s life and the lives of his family members’ would have been drastically improved from what they become. In the absence of prophecy, Oedipus’s actions may have appeared as freak accidents; instead, Oedipus is forced to realize the helpless cause of trying to take control of one’s own life. The Gods can control fate at will, and no matter what Oedipus had done, after learning of his fortune, he would have been unwittingly manipulated into performing the horrific acts involving his parents. Oedipus laments over this fact after previously celebrating his adoptive father’s death and thus his own apparent victory over the oracle’s grim prophecy. Oedipus’s denial of the truth comes back to plague him as the prophecy is fulfilled. He can see that it did not matter what course of action he took; he would have been led to tragedy like a lamb to the slaughter. The knowledge only led him to despair about his future; nothing good came from learning his own fate. By seeking out fate, Oedipus caused his own life to deteriorate. Knowledge of prophecy only burdens the enlightened individual...
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