Who Is Responsible for the Downfall of Oedipus Fate or Free Will?

1662 Words Nov 12th, 2012 7 Pages

In Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus is responsible for the tragedy of his downfall. Oedipus is presented with a series of choices throughout the play, and his arrogant and stubborn nature push him to impulsively make the wrong decisions, the decisions that ultimately lead him to his downfall. While Oedipus and those around him consider "fate" the source of Oedipus' problems, Oedipus' decisions show the audience that it is he who is responsible. Oedipus is a man of constant action. When the priests come to ask for his help, he has already dispatched Creon to the oracle to find out what the gods suggest. When the chorus suggests that
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Oedipus' encounter with Laius at the crossroads reveals a great deal about Oedipus' character and fatal flaws. In this crucial scene, Oedipus reveals his temper and lack of self-control that sets him on the road to fulfilling the prophecy of his fate. Nothing forces Oedipus to kill Laius; there is no accident. The location of a crossroad for this scene is metaphorical of Oedipus' choice. Oedipus could have chosen to ignore the dispute and end it peacefully, but he instead lashes out. The use of crossroads as a setting throughout literature is symbolic of the unknown outcomes of a group of choices. Sophocles utilizes that symbolism in this scene. The literal setting of a crossroad serves also as a figurative crossroad in Oedipus' life, the point in which Oedipus can veer away from the fateful prophecy or begin fulfilling it. When he knew about the prophecy about him killing his father he should have restrained himself from killing anyone especially an old man. But he gives in to his quick, impulsive temper, Oedipus chooses the latter. One murder is the murder of humanity let alone four; he murdered four people in a minor dispute of who pass the crossroad first! And tells Jocasta all about hearing the prophecy and committing murders in a single monologue.
“…Phoebus sent me forth disappointed of the knowledge for which I had come, but in his response set forth other things, full of sorrow and terror and woe: that I was

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