Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles: Fate over Free Will Essay

990 Words 4 Pages
Whether “fate” or “free will” is in control of our lives has always been

a highly questionable controversy—even today. Many of those with religious views

believe there is a higher power that has a predestined plan for each one of us and

our life is not in our own hands at all. If we knew our fate, do we have the power of

free will to change our future? In the play, Oedipus, fate becomes the determining

factor of Oedipus’s life and even with “free will”, there was no way to prevent his

inevitable destruction. Oedipus is guided and shaped at every point by the actions

and beliefs of others, who act as unwitting agents of his tragic destiny.

The play opens with Theban subjects praying at Oedipus’ altar for relief
…show more content…
Tiresias is well aware of

the killer’s identity and is unwilling to reveal it. He says “ None of you knows- and I

will never reveal my dreadful secrets, not to say your own.” (177)

After much taunting, Tiresias finally tells Oedipus that he is in fact the killer

of his own father. he is outraged and Jocasta reassures him by convincing him that

prophecies are meaningless by telling him the prophecy of her son never came

true in belief she prevented this from becoming truth. “An oracle came to Laius

one fine day… and it declared that doom would strike him down at the hands of

a son, our son, to be born of our own flesh and blood. But Laius, so the report

goes at least was killed by strangers, thieves…” (201) Before knowing that the

truth of the prophecies has actually been revealed, Jocasta is still doubtful fate is

in control. Even though she clearly fears that the prophecies enough when she

makes the choice abandon her own son to near-certain death, she is still convinced

that because of “free will”, his ‘fate’ can be changed. She goes on to say, “my son—

he wasn’t three days old and the boy’s father fastened his ankles, had a henchman

fling him away on a barren trackless mountain. There you see? Apollo brought

neither thing to pass. My baby no more murdered his father than Laius suffered—

his wildest fear—death at his own son’s hands.” (201) Oedipus, known as

Related Documents