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Oedipus and His Fate Essay

In Sophocles “Oedipus the King,” the concept of fate was initially presented as one that may be defied and avoided through careful planning and analysis. However, as the story progressed, fate in Oedipus’s lens became a strong force that is entirely out of the human hands. It is a very manipulative and tricky aspect of life which eventually follows behind, no matter how people try to run away from. In the perspective of Oedipus, fate played a great role in the events and occurrences in his life primarily when his parents tried to avoid it by sending him out to die in the wilderness.

It created a domino effect of great turmoil and turned Oedipus’ life from one with everything at his disposal to one with not even honor and dignity to be proud of. Fate and Predestination Fate is typically heard from people who are on the brink of dying or have lost a loved one. In most cases, fate is used as the rationale for the occurrence of something almost unacceptable. It has always been difficult to explain how people find comfort in believing that other than logical and practical reasons, like human errors or feeble-mindedness, some untoward incidents are actually meant to happen.

This is why despite the truth that man is a rational being and every action has some perceived effect, people still cling to the idea that there is no truth in the claim that man is in control of his life. When the blame is unbearable, people turn to fate or destiny even without knowing the two concepts’ true meanings (Shell). Most people use the terms fate and destiny interchangeably in the belief that these are one and the same. However, the truth is fate and destiny are two different concepts.

Destiny is that which people are meant to do and become even before birth. It may be likened to a star which individuals subconsciously follow in the course of life. On the other hand, fate is that force which starts to knock on one’s mind once one strays from the path of destiny. It is the guide which leads back the traveler who gets lost along the way to the destination (Shell). In the case of Oedipus and his story, it may then be concluded that it is predominantly controlled by fate and not destiny. Fate in Oedipus’s Lens

During the ancient times, fate was also believed to be the judge in every event in a person’s or a group of persons’ life. No man may go against it. Despite the belief of having free will, or the innate capacity to decide and stir one’s own life to a different direction, fate will eventually win over and fulfill what is predestined to man. This reality may be due to the fact that amazement may be acquired every time a prophecy on a certain individual is fulfilled. People who are already convinced of the power of seers are further persuaded (Friedlander).

In the case of Oedipus and his story, no persuasion had been necessary especially in the initial attempt to stray from the prophecy. When Laius tried to get away from his fate of dying in the hands of his own son, he had his son killed. However, by the middle of the story, his effort was a failure, and he died still in the hands of Oedipus who then believed that he was the son of Polybus, King of Corinth (Sophocles). This is not the only event in the life of Oedipus where fate took over and decided for him.

Many other incidents pointed to the predestination of Oedipus’ life — from the moment his eyes opened to the day it closed forever. What may be considered as the worst and very affective is the prophecy that he will, in his lifetime, kill his own father and marry his own mother. Oedipus tried to evade this prophecy, but he failed. Oedipus eventually killed his biological father, Laius, and married his own mother, Jocasta (Sophocles). As with what happened to King Laius, the attempt to defy destiny began a ripple effect not only in the life of Oedipus but also to the people surrounding him.

It affected also Jocasta who, from too much guilt upon learning that she went to bed with her own son, committed suicide. It also disturbed the peace and prosperity of the kingdom of Thebes, which was plagued due to the existence of immorality and incest in the very palace of the king. Most of all, the failed rebellion against fate changed the future of Oedipus’ children (Sophocles). Conclusion From what may be seen from the events narrated in Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King,” it may be found that fate, through Oedipus’s lens, was initially something that may be defied or rebelled against.

In the beginning of the story, in the perspective of Oedipus, the prophecy that he will kill his own father and marry his mother may be escaped through leaving his hometown, without knowing that this was actually the action that led to the fulfillment of his destiny. Thereafter, fate in Oedipus’ perspective changed into one which, like a king’s order, may never be broken and defied. It became such and it had taken its toll on the life of the protagonist especially as he tried to get away from it. It only created a domino effect of untoward incidents and utterly changed the course of life not only of Oedipus but also of the people around him.

It turned a boon into a misfortune. This only suggests that the more a person tries to claim that he or she has control over his or her life, the more fate makes itself known to him or her. Works Cited Friedlander, Ed. “Enjoying ‘Oedipus the King’ by Sophocles. ” Pathguy. com. 2005. 5 June 2009. <http://www. pathguy. com/oedipus. htm#predestination>. Shell, J. “Fate or Destiny. ” 2006. orderofthewhitelion. com. 5 June 2009. <http://www. orderofthewhitelion. com/Karma@/Fate. destiny. html>. Sophocles. “Oedipus Rex Summary by Pages. ” Scribd. com. 2009. 5 June 2009. <http://www. scribd. com/doc/408290/Oedipus-Rex-Summary-by-pages>.


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