Essay on Oedipus the King: the Cost of Free Will

905 Words Oct 17th, 2012 4 Pages
The Cost of “Free” Will in Oedipus Rex (the King)

Perhaps the Greek playwright Sophocles never had the concept of “free will” in mind when writing Oedipus Rex, but the play does allow for that interesting paradox we know today as free will. The paradox is: if Oedipus is told by the gods' oracles that he will kill his father and marry his mother, does he have any power to avoid this fate? That's a basic free will question. If Oedipus manages to avoid killing his father and marrying his mother, he will prove the gods wrong, and the oracle prediction turns out to be no prediction at all.

How free can we truly be if created by an all knowing being? If God knows, even at the moment before our births, that we are already
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Most free will arguments stem from the observation of vision in perspective. In other words, it depends upon the fact that we cannot see what is destined, so it is said that we do have choice. But this argument is fundamentally weak, because all choices we make, even those made in ignorance, must by necessity in a god-created universe lead to the pre-known conclusion. So the choice is merely an illusion ... though it may seem real from the human perspective. Free will is a paradox.

Yet, I refuse to see Oedipus as a puppet, even as I thank Adam for delivering unto us the glory of man. Had Adam never sinned (and I'm speaking only metaphorically here, not as a fundamentalist, which I am not), we would conceivably never be, since Adam could have lived his complacent life naming animals in Eden ... unconscious and unaware. He couldn't see that he was naked. He couldn't see anything at all ... except those animals, and God.

So how do we see God again? How do we get back to the Garden? Dante would probably have insisted that we certainly do have free will ... but the Medievalists believed that such will was only good when relegated to the will of God. So, to have free will was to choose to do the will of God -- to choose, in some sense, not to have free will ... which some may argue is not free will at all. A paradox. Dante's Hell is filled with people who used their free wills for their own good, not God's.

I do not believe we will very soon solve the

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