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Fate Versus Free Will In Ancient Grecian Literature And Cinema Today

964 words - 4 pages

Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, is an infamous piece of ancient Greek literature. It tells the tale of a young man whom, during infancy, his parents receive an oracle telling them that their son will kill his father and have sexual relations with his mother. The parents of Oedipus then bind his feet and abandon him in the wilderness where a shepherd from the neighboring city of Corinth discovers him. The king and queen of this city raise him; he grows up to be a great leader, and marries the queen of a neighboring city, Jocasta. It is later discovered that on a trek he killed a man he thought to be a beggar turns out to be his father and the queen that he marries is, unfortunately, his mother. After these unfortunate happenings, Eurydice commits suicide and Oedipus blinds himself. The major issue in this story is the ability to choose good over evil, or free will.
The primary theme in the Oedipus Rex tales is undoubtedly the concern of free will within this story. This issue is very tightly bonded to the idea of fate, however the two are juxtaposed. The battle is prevalent in every aspect, due to the fact that the gods give Oedipus a fate from the time of his birth that he will murder his father and kill his mother; by way of his free will he runs from this destiny. Ironically, by running from his fate he runs directly to it. This is very common in ancient Greek writings, they believed in malevolent and petty gods. This leads them to attempt to answer these questions by way of narratives, generally they follow the very same formula: they gods release a mandate on a specific human being, the human runs from this mandate, however, against his will he finally fulfills it. By this time, the Greeks would have already been familiar with this faux pas, which only adds to the tone that Oedipus will be unable to avoid this tragic end.
This issue of fate and free will is laced into society today. Nowadays, the ideas that are collectively established as a society are filed into movies that display this. The piece of cinematic work that displays the ideas of fate is The Matrix, directed by Andy Wachowski in 1999 (Matrix 101.) This movie tells the story of a man named Thomas A. Anderson, otherwise known as Neo, he is a computer hacker who, when kidnapped to be a part of a scientific experiment, rebels. In order to escape the prison that is this mental experiment, Morpheus, the leader of the Renegade ship Nebuchadnezzar, offers Neo the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill will transport him back to his home with no memory of the experiment or any of the epic he has gone on. The red pill, on the other hand, will on the other...

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