Fate And Fate In Oedipus The King By Sophocles

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Ancient Greek playwrights really specialized in the dysfunction of family. By this, I mean that have been plays about family members killing among themselves in many possible combinations, and there were also tragedies. However, it’s hard to imagine a family more tragic, dysfunctional, and unhappy as the one that Sophocles writes about in Oedipus the King. Sophocles’s Oedipus The King is considered one of the greatest Greek tragedies of its time and it embodies the human experience within several overlapping literary themes, one of them being fate and free will, two opposites that determine whether something is predestined or under a person’s control. Greek gods engineer fate, and they interfere to make things happen that might not otherwise …show more content…
Therefore, it is his fault that the tragedy is discovered, not the fault of fate. Prophecy is a central part of Oedipus the King. The play begins with Creon’s return from the oracle at Delphi, where he has learned that the plague will be lifted if Thebes banishes the man who killed Laius. Tiresias prophesies the capture of one who is both father and brother to his own children. Oedipus tells Jocasta of a prophecy he heard as a youth, that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother, and Jocasta tells Oedipus of a similar prophecy given to Laius, that her son would grow up to kill his father. Oedipus and Jocasta debate the extent to which prophecies should be trusted at all, and when all of the prophecies come true, it appears that one of Sophocles’ aims is to justify the powers of the gods and prophets, which had recently come under attack in fifth-century b.c. Athens. Sophocles’ audience would, of course, have known the story of Oedipus, which only increases the sense of complete inevitability about how the play would end. It is difficult to say how justly one can accuse Oedipus of being “blind” or foolish when he seems to have no choice about fulfilling the prophecy: he is sent away from Thebes as a baby and by a remarkable coincidence saved and raised as a prince in Corinth. Hearing that he is fated to kill his father, he flees Corinth and, by a still more remarkable coincidence, ends up back in Thebes, now king and husband in his actual father’s place. Oedipus seems only to desire to flee his fate, but his fate continually catches up with him. Many people have tried to argue that Oedipus brings about his catastrophe because of a “tragic flaw,” but nobody has managed to create a consensus about what Oedipus’s flaw actually is. Perhaps his story is meant to show that error and disaster

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