The Unavoidable Fate Of Oedipus The King

1094 words - 4 pages

In Sophocles' Oedipus the King, fate plays a blatant role in the downfall of Oedipus. Fate demonstrates time and time again in the play that it is unavoidable and will always overrule any attempt to change one's destiny. Knowing Oedipus' fate also proves to be more of a hindrance than a blessing since he wasn't able to alter what was in store for him regardless of the extreme measures that were taken to escape his ill fortune. The gods are relentless to these attempts and only grow angrier and vengeful when Jocasta, Oedipus' mother, at first denies that the prophecy created by the gods for Oedipus to kill his father and marry his mother had indeed come true and then tries to keep it from being found out. Sophocles makes it clear to the audience that fate takes precedence over one's life and how it is played out, and that trying to mess with it will only anger the gods and make things more troublesome.Some, even before his birth, knew the unfortunate destiny of Oedipus and his family, but despite knowing this and taking extreme actions to evade it, fate as always won out in the end. Oedipus' life began rather harshly for an innocent baby. His parents, King Laius and Queen Jocasta, learning from an oracle that their son would someday kill his father and marry his mother, attempt to change this decree by binding Oedipus' ankles and giving him to a Shepard for him to leave on a mountaintop to die. The Shepard unable to bring himself to do this gives Oedipus to a Shepard from Corinth, who then gives Oedipus to his king, Polybus, to raise as his own son. Thus, despite King Laius' and Jocasta's effort to kill Oedipus before he can grow to fulfill his destiny, he lives and matures to become a fine prince of another kingdom.King Laius and Jocasta are not the only culprits in trying to avoid the impending doom of their family, but Oedipus as well learns of his fate and takes actions to prevail over it. Being oblivious to the truth that King Polybus and Queen Merope are not his real parents, ultimately leads to Oedipus' misconception of the oracle he hears from Phoebus, "I (Oedipus) was fated to lie with my mother, . . . and I was doomed to be murderer of the father that begot me." (l. 790-94) Hearing this he flees Corinth so as to prevent himself from committing these sins on the people he believe to be his beloved parents. Shortly thereafter he comes across the great Sphinx, whom many fear, and defeats the Sphinx by solving the riddle that had everyone before Oedipus puzzled. Along his journey, he also kills a group of men where three roads met. His victory over the Sphinx is one that earns Oedipus the praise and honor when he arrives in Thebes. He is crowned their new king, since prior to his arrival, their king, King Laius, was also killed coincidently where three roads met. Unbeknownst to Oedipus or the rest of Thebes, King Laius is one of the strangers that he murdered. Thus, although a joyous homecoming for Oedipus, who does not know that this is the...

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