This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Hamlet And Oedipus: Free Will Versus Fate

999 words - 4 pages

For ages, man has sought to be in command of his life. The common debate is

whether we, as human beings, have free will or if a divine force, sometimes referred to as

fate, determines our destiny. Though the two plays, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and

Sophocles’s Oedipus were written in two different eras, these two ideas are common

between them. Although Hamlet and Oedipus both strive to be in control of their lives,

Oedipus refuses to accept his destiny and therefore unknowingly fulfills his fate.

In less than 2 months of the death of Hamlet’s father, the King of Denmark, his

mother marries the brother of the deceased King. This speedy marriage causes Hamlet a

lot of grief for he feels that he has not only lost his father and his mother but also the

throne to the brother, Claudius. Throughout the play he is shown to be an intellectual and

manipulating character. After meeting with the ghost, Hamlet decides to behave mad so

that he might have a chance to revenge his father, “As I perchance hereafter shall think

meet to put an antic disposition on…” (Shakespeare, 34). This is Hamlets way of

misleading the people around him including Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, and his friends,

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern while he forms a plan to revenge his father. Further along

in the play, Hamlet confronts his mother in her bedroom and tells her his opinion of

Claudius. Gertrude says that she now truly sees what she has done, but this is not enough

for him, before he leaves he says “Good night. But go not to my uncle’s bed.” (100) thus

trying to control his mother’s actions. When Hamlet’s friends, Rosencrantz and

Guildenstern, visit him without any reason as to why, he gets suspicious and pulls from

them the King’s instructions to spy on him. This angers Hamlet once he realizes he

cannot trust his good friends. When the time comes for them to escort him to England he

has no remorse as he sends them to their deaths, “…he should those bearers put to sudden

death, not shriving-time allow’d.” (142). In this way, Oedipus is a lot like Hamlet in that

he shows no compassion when killing the travelers after being pushed off the road by

them, “He more than paid for it…I killed him. I killed them all.” (Sophocles, 44). After

Oedipus finds out that his prophecy has become true he banishes himself from the city

and renounces the throne to Creon. But even then he tries to exert control over Creon and

his daughters’ destiny, first by asking him to adopt his daughters so they will have an

appropriate and normal ancestry, “…they have no father left but you. You must not see

your blood go down in beggary…” (79) and then (in contradiction) by asking that his

daughters not be taken away from him, “No, no, never! Don’t take them from me.” (80).

At the end of the play Creon sees the...

Find Another Essay On Hamlet and Oedipus: Free Will versus Fate

Fate Versus Free Will in Oedipus the King by Sophocles

910 words - 4 pages Oedipus the King is play that tells of a renowned king and his struggle between free will and his alleged fate. Oedipus was prophesized to kill his father and marry his mother. After learning about the prophecy, Oedipus immediately takes action by leaving his hometown of Corinth and avoiding his supposed parents. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles shows that Oedipus' actions contribute to his downfall; it is his vain short temper, enormous pride

Oedipus: Fate vs. Free will Essay

1287 words - 5 pages When establishing whether it was fate or free will that determined the outcome of Oedipus’ life we must take in to consideration each side. Some people can say that he brought all of his suffering on himself but then again some people can say that it was his destiny that bad things were to happen to him. First we will look at fate. The definition of fate is a force or power that predetermines events or an inevitable events predestined by

Hamlet: Fate vs Free Will

1255 words - 5 pages finally accepted the role Fate plays in the lives of mankind, Hamlet could proceed to “accept the necessity of killing Claudius…[because] he would simply be acting as the instrument of divine justice at work in the world.” (Ahlman) The discussion of free will versus fate will last through time as no one knows nor will know the actual answer to the question. However, in almost every literary situation, whenever man attempts to avoid fate, a chain of

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - The Fate of Oedipus

1302 words - 5 pages The Fate of Oedipus in Oedipus the King   In "Oedipus the King" there comes a point in the play where Oedipus learns something that plays an important role throughout the play.   He learns from a  oracle that he will eventually kill his own Father and sleep with his own mother.  As one could imagine this is a shock to Oedipus, and he does not believe the oracle.  However, he cannot prevent any of this from

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - The Paradox of Free Will

1315 words - 5 pages A Paradox: Oedipus's Free will in the Play Oedipus Rex William Shakespeare once wrote, "Who can control his fate?" (Othello, Act v, Sc.2). A hero and leader must acknowledge above all else his honor, and the pride of his image.  In ancient Greek beliefs, a hero was a man who stood taller than the rest; he was able to better any conflict.  He did this not for himself or for any token award that may be given to him, but for the security of

Fate and Free Will

1005 words - 5 pages even, would it mean that I am destined to remain a perpetual student because I will never find my calling (like Trofimov from the Cherry Orchard)? I’d rather think that with hard work, I can pick my destiny. It is human nature to want to have control and with a predetermined fate, this isn’t possible. Free will can be more scary than fate in some instances. Unlike fate, free will can easily be taken away. Teenagers in particular have a strong

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - Fate and the Modern World

985 words - 4 pages brings up many questions which are not easily answered.  Does man ha free will? What responsibilities does a man have for his own actions? Should the inferior human intellect and poor human reasoning be placed above obedience to one’s God or gods?          Neither Sophocles nor the Greeks originated these questions.  Thousands of years before the time of the Greeks man worried that his life, and therefore his fate, was determined by very

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - Defining Fate

1015 words - 4 pages that is presented in the play, one might infer that there is no such thing as free will.  Nothing one does can change what will be, simply because it is fated to happen (Elsom, 83).   Another important thing to note is that fate is impartial.  Fate affects the fat and thin, the stupid and smart, and the rich and poor.  In the modern world today, cancer happens to good people and bad people alike.  According to Tuminas, a Greek director

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - Role of Fate

639 words - 3 pages no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last " (Sophacles p. 640). The people of Thebes could see the sadness in the downfall of Oedipus. Their leader had fallen, and although he could not forgive himself, the people sought out mercy for him. Bibliography Lucas, Gerald. Character V. Fate. BLOG Revermann, Martin. "Spatio-Temporal Dynamics in Sophacles' Oedipus the King." University of Toronto Quarterly`, Vol. 72 (Fall 2003): p.1-9. Sophacles. The Norton Anthology Of World Masterpieces. Ed. Sarah Lawall. W.W. Norton and Company. New York, London, 1999.

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - Victim of Fate

3576 words - 14 pages The Victim of Fate in Oedipus Rex The question has been raised as to whether Oedipus was a victim of fate or of his own actions.  This essay will show that Oedipus was a victim of fate, but he was no puppet because he freely and actively sought his doom, although he was warned many times of the inevitable repercussions of his actions. When first considering this topic, I speculated that maybe it was the destiny of Oedipus to suffer

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - Driven by Fate

1116 words - 4 pages The Role of Fate in Oedipus Rex Before we approach this complex question inductively, we are at first obliged to contemplate what definitions and assumptions are being made. This essay, perhaps more so than others, requires a more extensive look at this aspect of the question, because of the sheer variety of possible responses. However, I now have reduced them to three possibilities. Firstly, we could make the assumption that perhaps as

Similar Essays

Fate Versus Free Will Essay

1787 words - 7 pages fate. However, when a god made a prophecy, which later came true, the evidence was clear enough to cause someone to believe in fate. In one famous play, the question of fate versus free will plays a dominant role during analysis. The play, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, stars a young man, Oedipus, who appears to be the pawn of the gods. In Ode four (27-31), the chorus comments on Oedipus’ state: And now of all men ever known Most pitiful is

Fate Versus Free Will Essay

525 words - 2 pages The theme of fate is alive before the play even begins. Jocasta and Laius discover that their son will be the killer of his own father and will then marry his mother. Attempting to alter the fate of the family, they try to kill their son. He does not die though; a shepherd finds the boy and gives him to a messenger. The baby is then given to the king and queen of Corinth. They name the baby Oedipus, meaning ?swollen feet.?Many years later

Fate Versus Free Will Essay

2406 words - 10 pages , free will give us the ability to change our fate not all decision made out of free will result in correct choices, but how are we to try and change our outcome if we leave it up to fate. Sopholces' Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, plays on the issues of free will, and predetermined fate. I would like to suggest that although Oedipus' life was pre- determined by the Gods acting on free will gave him the opportunity to make his own decisions

Fate Versus Free Will Essay

722 words - 3 pages for you, therefore giving you a different result. This idea of fate versus free will can be visible throughout many pieces of literature as wells as the lives of any individual. Notably in my life and the Jon Krakauer’s novel, Into Thin Air, the concept of making a certain decision that could potentially change the rest of your life is clearly illustrated. To begin with, in my life, I have had to make some rather tough decisions. One decision