In the play, Oedipus the King, it was portrayed that Oedipus, the main protagonist, was destined to slay his father and go to bed with his mother as foreseen by the Oracle of Delphi. Although Oedipus did unknowingly kill his own father, Laius, and marry and slept with his own mother, Jocasta, it was the flaws in his character and attitude, and not fate entirely that led to his downfall. In short, even though he was fated to do what he did in the story, he had the option to avoid that fate. However, his very nature prevented him from doing so.
In the story, Oedipus was illustrated as a wise and very good ruler. He was sympathetic and compassionate towards his people. However, like most classical Greek tragic heroes, Oedipus also has flaws that eventually led to his downfall. Possibly his most notable flaws include his impulsiveness, rashness, stubbornness, and his tendency to make lapses or errors in judgment. These flaws were shown in several parts of the play, particularly during the time when he was in the process of discovering the truth about his past.
When he recounts to his wife and mother, Jocasta, how he killed a group of travelers, one of which was later revealed to be his biological father, Laius, on a crossroad, Oedipus showed that he is highly capable of being rash and short-tempered. Although he was merely defending himself, he could have simply run away and avoided killing the travelers. By doing so, he could have avoided killing his true father while also disproving the prophecy of the Oracle of Delphi.
It was also during this scene in the play that Oedipus was portrayed as a man who moves greatly based on impulse and does not think first before acting. Moreover, his rashness was also shown when Tiresias, the blind prophet, refused to tell Oedipus of the truth about the murderer of Laius. Although the prophet warned him that the truth would be bring him only pain and suffering, Oedipus still insisted and even threatened to accuse him of the murdering the fallen king himself.
This forces Tiresias to reveal that it was Oedipus who killed Laius. Due to his short-temper, he accused the prophet of conspiring against him, which further showed how foolish he was. In addition, this also showed how blind Oedipus was because even though the truth was already being presented to him, he still refused to acknowledge it. Furthermore, it was his stubbornness and his desire to seek the truth that eventually led to his downfall.
When he was still prince of the kingdom of Corinth, he overheard in a banquet that he was not the true child of the king and queen. He immediately sought the truth from the Oracle of Delphi, who simply told him that he would murder his own father and sleep with his own mother. This forced him to flee his home and it was during this time that he met the group of travelers whom he would all kill. After some time, he saved the kingdom of Thebes from the curse of the Sphinx by answering its riddle.
This led to this coronation as the king of Thebes and also led to his marriage to Jocasta, whom he did not know to be his biological mother at the time. Finally, when he became king he then sought out to find the murderer of Laius, which set forth the chain of events that brought about his downfall. In other words, in his intense desire to seek the truth and avoid his fate, Oedipus became blinded and unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy of the oracle.
Had he not left Corinth, he most probably would have not fulfilled the prophecy and avoided his doomed fate. In short, although it appeared that Oedipus was destined to fall, it was his very nature and lapses in judgment that sparked consequences which, he was not initially aware of. Moreover, it was his fatal flaws such as his arrogance and impulsiveness led him to kills his own father and marry his own mother. It can then be deduced that fate was greatly assisted by Oedipus nature and actions and did not act on its own.