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The Inevitable Fate Essay

1096 words - 4 pages

Disraeli’s quotation, “Circumstances are beyond the control of man; but his conduct is his own power”, means that people can express free will, can make their own decisions, and can express their own personality, but they do not have control of their fates. In Oedipus the King and Macbeth, the eponymous characters hear their own prophecy. They have free will, but they cannot alter the prophecy.
One of the themes in Oedipus the King is that characters fight against their fates. However, their efforts do not stop the prophecy from being fulfilled. For example, the prophecy states that Laius and Jocasta’s son will kill his father and marry his mother. Therefore, Laius and Jocasta choose to defy fate. They injure Oedipus’ knee and abandoned him so that he would not come back home, but the prophecy still comes true. This shows that although the characters have power to make their own decisions, they do not have enough power to stop the prophecy from being fulfilled. Oedipus hears from a drunken man that he is not his father’s son and decides to hear the truth about his birth from the oracle of Delphi: “And so, / unknown to mother and father I set out for Delphi” (868-9). It is Oedipus’ own choice to confirm the validity of the rumor; however, he only learns about his tragic fate. After hearing the prophecy, he chooses to run away from Corinth to defy the prophecy. This shows that free will is limited such that characters do not have enough power to change their fate. Characters in Oedipus the King persistently try to alter the prophecy, but their efforts do not change the prophecy.
Oedipus is responsible for his own flaws; his fate is only a consequence of his behaviors. Another theme in Oedipus the King is that excessive pride is a weakness. Oedipus is overconfident and is too stubborn to admit his weaknesses. Because he is prideful, he chooses to accept the rewards for solving the sphinx’s riddle and takes pride in being the king of Thebes. Therefore, when Creon accuses Oedipus for murder, Oedipus believes that Creon is plotting to remove him from the throne. Oedipus is very cynical toward Creon because Oedipus wanted to remain as the ruler: “You, plotting to kill me, kill the king- / I see it all, the marauding thief himself / scheming to steal my crown and power!” (596-8). Oedipus is too prideful; he searches relentlessly for Laius’ murderer even though others said not to continue searching because he wants to prove that he is a capable ruler. Oedipus is not forced to find Laius’ murderer; instead, he continues to look for the murderer because of his own stubbornness. Oedipus also chooses to kill King Laius due to his prideful nature. Because he is almost pushed off to the side of the road, he decides to kill the people in the wagon: “and the one in the lead and the old man himself were about to thrust me off the road-brute force- / and the one shouldering me aside, the driver, I strike him in anger! – and the old man, watching me /...

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