January 10, 2017
Fate Will Never Relinquish Its Hold On Tragedy: Oedipus The King and Antigone
People possess the will to make their own choices and make decisions throughout their daily life; however, no matter what choices we make the outcomes will remain the same. People make whatever decisions they want, but the decisions will take them to the same predetermined fate. In the plays Oedipus The King and Antigone, famously written by Sophocles, there are arguments to be made that fate leads to tragedy. Both plays share a similar motif of tragic preordained fates that have been prophesied. Also, when one’s fate has been decided, there is no action that can change it. Consequently, what follows is tragedy. Therefore, once a tragic fate is preordained, it cannot be avoided.
Common to both plays, the city of Thebes is central in situations of preordained fate. Prophecies dictate that the protagonists will experience tragic ends. The play, Oedipus The King, demonstrates this tragic preordained fate because no matter how far the protagonist, Oedipus chooses to run, he is still a victim of fate. The Prophecy of Delphi let Jocasta and Laius, (birth parents of Oedipus) know that Oedipus would grow up and kill his own father and sleep with his mother. This prophecy is later shown to Oedipus himself as a young man. This prophecy is exhibited even before the play begins: “Some fifteen years previously, Oedipus, then a young man, was told by the Oracle at Delphi that he was destined to murder his father and marry his mother” (Sophocles 3). This context proves that since the Oracle has shown the preordained fate of Oedipus that he is conclusively going to kill his father and marry his mother. Similarly, in Antigone, Tiresias approaches King Creon with a prophecy for the king himself. Tiresias proceeds and tells Creon that he has had a vision of awful things to occur in Thebes. Creon does not think the vision is correct and he insults and continues to insult Tiresias. Finally, the prophet of Apollo stands up for himself and utters, “All right then! Take it if you can. A corpse for a corpse the price, and flesh for flesh, one of your own begotten. The sun shall not run his course for many days before you pay” (Sophocles 239). In this scene, Tiresias opposes Creon and he says that all the wrong Creon has done is going to come back on him in his life in the worst way he can ever see to happen to him. Both characters, Oedipus and Creon, are now given their predestined fates, which consequently lead to the their doom.
No matter what actions one may take to change their fate, it will ultimately lead to failure. When one’s fate is decided, no action can change it, no matter the circumstance. Tiresias has this realization. When he is in conversation with Oedipus, Tiresias conceives that Oedipus is in denial and exclaims, “Well, it will come what will, though I be mute . . . To yield is grievous, but the obstinate soul That fights...