Essay on Free Will And Fate : Oedipus The King

1071 Words Nov 28th, 2016 5 Pages
Two factors decide the circumstances of a person’s life: free will and fate. These two schools of thought have been prevalent for millennia, and have been debated by both philosophers and theologians seeking truth and knowledge. Fifth century B.C.E. Athenian playwright Sophocles, pondered these same questions, and this prompted him to write the ancient Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King. In the play, the protagonist Oedipus rules over the city-state of Thebes, which is decimated by plague. To find a remedy for this hardship, Oedipus sends his brother-in-law Creon to the Oracle at Delphi to acquire the guidance of the sun god, Apollo. Creon returns with an answer from the Oracle. It is decreed that they must bring the murderer of the prior king of Thebes, Laius, to justice. This prompts Oedipus to embark on a quest to apprehend the culprit or culprits involved in the murder of Laius that ultimately leads to the destruction of Oedipus. In the play Oedipus the King, both free will and fate contribute to the tragic destruction of Oedipus. The overwhelming theme in Oedipus the King is the inevitability of fate, which is defined by Merriam Webster as “a power that is believed to control what happens in the future” (Fate, n.d.). Oedipus and the citizens of Thebes prove to be very susceptible to this way of thinking. For example, uncertain what to do about the plague, and convinced that this must be the will of the gods, Oedipus commissions Creon to find an answer from the Oracle of…

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