Determinism vs Freewill Essay

718 Words Jan 16th, 2013 3 Pages
Sophocles’ play Oedipus explores many aspects of human existence; however, one of its sole themes is determinism versus free will. Sophocles suggests that every individual is not only born with a preordained destiny, but also granted the abilities to mold and shape the plots of their own lives.
Throughout the play, many characters encounter situations where the decisions they make alter the outcome of their futures. In the play Oedipus the King, characters such as Jocasta, Laius and Oedipus face decisions and then subsequently struggle with the emanations of making such choices. "... fate would make him meet his end through a son, a son of his and mine... Is left by Laius (through other hands of course) upon a trackless hillside."
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But because Oedipus senses remorse and liability for his actions, he finally realizes that he did have a choice in his actions. In the end, he blinds himself to avoid the sight of the people around him; it verifies that only he is to be blamed for the mistakes he chose to make. Therefore, in this case, Oedipus is no long a victim of fate; he encompasses the ability to decide for himself, which he failed to do. Oedipus’s downfall is not completely predetermined, but is instead the result of the decisions he made out his free will.
Much like Oedipus, his mother/wife Jocasta makes the same mistake which was a reluctantcy to face her shortcomings. “So there! Apollo fails to make the son his father’s murderer, and the father (Laius sick with dread) murdered by his son. All foreseen by fate and seers, of course, and all to be forgotten” (Jocasta Pg40). After abandoning Oedipus at infancy, Jocasta and Laius choose to believe, despite having no proof that their child was dead, and the oracle’s prophecy was over. The prophecy that her son will kill his own father, and marry his mother may be preordained. But Jocasta still could’ve had the power to shape her own destiny by making different choices. However, Jocasta chooses to overlook all the given clues and remain insensible, which resulted in her failure at being a mother, a wife, and the captain of her own life.

The play

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