Who Is Responsible For Oedipus's Downfall

Pages: 3 (606 words) / Published: Nov 16th, 2017
Many readers believe that fate is what causes Oedipus’s downfall; however, it is his free actions that create his tragedy. It can be claimed by many readers that Oedipus’ actions were beyond his control and were actually being determined by a higher power. However, Oedipus is able to choose his course of action making him responsible for his ruin. Although many readers believe that fate is what causes Oedipus’s downfall, it is his free actions that create his tragedy. In “Chapter 5: A Hidden God: Oedipus the King” John A. Weigel argues that Oedipus’s downfall was caused by his free actions rather than the acts of a higher power. Weigel states that, “Oedipus's character is necessary for the disaster, and he acts freely both within the drama …show more content…
H Vellacott refutes fate as the cause of Oedipus’s ruin by supporting Oedipus having free will in his essay “The Guilt of Oedipus”. Vellacott argues for free will when it states, “Oedipus has, at the first opportunity, ignored a divine warning… [Oedipus] is guilty. . . [Oedipus] is no longer the innocent victim of malevolent powers” (210). Here Vellacott is trying to say that Oedipus was no longer a victim to the higher power that had brought him so much injustice and that he was at fault for his wrong doing. He knew it was unquestionable that after the incident at the banquet, where the drunk man accused Oedipus of not being the real son of Polybus and Merope, that Oedipus was in full control of his actions. Furthermore Vellacott clearly supports free will as the cause of Oedipus’s downfall when he said, “The sin of Oedipus was not mere matter of hasty temper but an obstinate neglect of divine warning in punish in his passions and ambitions; the taking of a risk he had no right to take” (217). He argues that Oedipus was not acting on his impulse but he was ignoring the supernatural powers and taking his chances. More importantly Vellacott claims that it is undoubtable that the punishment was not a deception of destiny. Oedipus was not being punished because of a higher power rather he was being punished because of his own wrong

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