Fate In Oedipus And Plato's Allegory Of The King

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Humans often cling to the idea that they have complete control over their lives. They want to think that every action is their decision, that every person has the potential to shape his or her future. A blindfolded birthday boy swinging at a piñata believes that he is in control, while really his father holds his son’s hand as he swings the bat. The son assumes that he is in control of his swing, while the father is the guiding force behind the motion. The father gives the son this illusion in order to promote a mistaken perception of freedom. This is comparable to Plato’s view on fate, as explored in his Allegory of the Cave. He believes that what humans perceive as reality is shadows on a cave wall projected by puppeteers. The humans shackled …show more content…
Tiresias, who knows better about the nature of the future and the gods, reminds Oedipus that the only the gods cause his downfall; he is only their messenger. Oedipus is ignorant of the fact that his fate lies in the hands of the gods, not in the control of mortals. Tiresias, despite his blindness, sees past Oedipus’ naïve understanding of fate and into the cruel mechanism of the gods. The gods ordain a punishment to Oedipus since birth, while he is blameless. Even though Oedipus is guilty of the crimes the prophecy foretold, he is only a puppet of the gods. Later, Oedipus insists that he is not guilty to Jocasta by retelling the story of his life before arriving at Thebes. He points out that he cannot be the murderer of his father, since when he learned of his prophecy, “‘I went where I should never see the disgrace / Of my evil oracles be brought to pass’” (770-771). In other words, Oedipus thinks that by running away from Corinth, he can escape his fate. He unwittingly carries out a part of his downfall by returning to Thebes, where his real parents live, setting off the chain reaction that leads to his downfall. The gods twist Oedipus’ desire to protect his parents into the next step of his destruction. His misfortune continues when he recognizes that the stranger in the chariot he killed could have been his father. Oedipus finishes his account and reflects on the incident at the crossroads: “‘I killed them …show more content…
Oedipus discovers from a messenger that the king of Corinth, who he incorrectly believes to be his father, is dead. He rejoices in the false belief that he beat the prophecy and escaped his fate. Jocasta agrees and reminds Oedipus that no one should fear prophecies: “‘What should man fear, whose life is ruled by fate, / For whom there is a clear foreknowledge of nothing? / It is best to live by chance, however you can’” (945-947). Jocasta hopes to comfort Oedipus by establishing that the gods possess supreme power, explaining that humans have little influence on their destinies. Thus, Oedipus should not worry about or try to mend what is not under his control. Jocasta assures Oedipus that whether he avoids the prophecy or not, there is no need for worry; it is the gods’ business. However, his triumph is short-lived; the messenger later reveals that the king of Corinth is not Oedipus’ father. Oedipus is determined to discover his true parentage, despite protesting from Jocasta. The servant remembers that a shepherd rescued the child of Laius and Jocasta, so Oedipus sends for him. While waiting for the shepherd, he muses over who his mother may be: “‘I would not be dishonored to call myself / The son of Fortune, giver of good’” (1048-1049). Oedipus speculates that he is the son of the goddess Fortune, since he appears to be gifted with

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