Oedipus The King Suggests That People Ultimately Have Little Control Over Their Own Lives.

821 words - 3 pages

The free will versus fate debate dates back to before 500BC. Some people believe that fate dominates a person's entire life, that all events are inevitable. Others feel that we are free to make choices in life and that nothing is certain. In the play Oedipus the King, the writer Sophecles demonstrates through the Gods and the oracles what little influence the characters in the play such as Oedipus, Creon and Jocasta have over their own lives as well as using the townspeople to show that they too have no choice due to the controls on society. Through the use of the fate versus free will idea that runs throughout the play, Sophecles suggests that man ultimately has a decided fate, with little or no power to choose.Oedipus is a prime example of a person who has no choice in how to live his life, his fate decided at birth with an oracle that destined him to kill his father and marry his mother. Although he did not discover this fortune until much later in his life, when he did learn of the oracle, he immediately "fled away" from the people whom he thought to be his parents and traveled to Thebes, fulfilling the first part of the oracle along the way without even realizing. After solving the Sphinx's riddle and becoming King, Oedipus then became married to his mother who happened to be Queen of Thebes. All along Oedipus believed he could choose, that his decisions would ensure "that no such horror would ever come to pass" but as he finds out in the end he was foolish to think he could escape the oracles because no matter how great he was, he was still a man and "mortal man must always look to his ending."Another example of the powerlessness of individuals, especially ones who do not believe or accept the oracles is Oedipus' wife and mother, Jocasta. When her newborn son was given the fate of killing her husband and marrying her, she thought she could outwit the oracles by giving her son away to be killed. Thinking she had the oracles fooled, she decides that are not to be believed, that they are only a "fig for divination" and that it is in fact "chance that rules our lives". But as Oedipus' past becomes more clear, she begins to panic, realizing that the oracle has already come to fruition and kills herself so she does not have to face...

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