Oedipus the King


In Sophecles’ Oedipus the King, the theories of fate and free will have been strongly depicted all through the play. Only one of the themes introduces the Oedipus’ downfall and death. These points can be argued to greater impact. During the ancient Greek times, fate was deemed as elementary part of daily life. Every aspect of life was dependent upon fate. It is universal to consider that mankind has free will and every individual s bound to come to a decision of the outcome for his or her life. All sides of the case may be well supported. In fact, the Greeks used to believe in the idea that aspect of personality for individuals had great impact to their life. The Greek personality was the aspect that made their decision for their own free will (Priel 433). Certainly, a wise person will have to make excellent decisions in his life whereas an obdurate and ill-mannered wouldn’t be so auspicious. The personality traits of individuals have specific negative or positive impact on the decisions that are made. For the case of Oedipus, significant characteristics entailed the curiosity of knowledge and truth about an individual existence. Such driving force part of the play caused reveal of the truth about his origin. This connected within his individual concept of free will. His free will was based upon his drive for knowledge. Greek belief was that fate tends to control man’s life regardless of the man free will.

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All through the play, Oedipus keeps on pushing Creon, Tiresias, Jocantam, the oracle the messenger, as well as marshal for the information related with his starting. All these characters in a way or form declined to offer him a methodical answer. While he is almost to find an answer, another character emerges that attempts to discontinue his journey. Oedipus still considers moving onward despite other requests he didn’t. “Oh no, listen to me, I beg you, don’t do this….Listen to you? No more.  I must know it all, see the truth at last” (Priel 436). Oedpus has strong sense and desire for truth that kept on pushing for continuous search, which resulted to his own downfall. For the whole period Oedipus held capability of discontinuing the predicament. Despite that, he considered an independent decision to persist.

Body Part 1:

In Oedipus the King, Sophocles’ popular play has well depicted the Greek popular belief that fate will have capacity of controlling man’s life regardless of man free will. Man had freedom of choosing and deciding his own deeds. All through Oedipus the King, the aspect of fate and free will have played a crucial role in Oedipus’ demolition. Fortuned to have married his mother and murdered of his father, Oedipus was partially directed by fate. Such prophecy as given warning by the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi remained absolute with expectation of inevitable pass. For the free will aspect, Oedipus’ held diverse actions, impulsive nature, pride and temper and his invalid judgments. Not understanding that he was the murdered, Oedipus cursed himself. He states that, “Whoever he is, a lone man unknown in his crime or one among many, let that man drag out his life in agony, step by painful step – I curse myself as well… if by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house, here at my hearth, with my full knowledge, may the curse I just called down on him strike me! (Priel 438).

Oedipus started a new journey in search of the Laius’ murders. This journey was of help as it assisted in making prophesy remain reality. Oedipus pride, unawareness, and remorseless pursuit for the truth caused an ultimate contribution to his destruction. A good example is when Oedipus was told (after threats to Tiresias), that he remained responsible for the Laius killing. In this situation, he became infuriated and referred to the blind prophet as a liar. Oedipus used to thing that he had capacity of overcoming the gods but the reality of matter was that his actions were moving him so close to his fate.

After finding the truth of his birth from shepherd, Oedipus has to cry out, “O god all come true, all burst to light! O light now let me look my last on you! I stand revealed at last cursed in my birth, cursed in marriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands.” At this point, Oedipus realized that his destiny was indeed coming to pass and had a feeling of being cursed by the fate. With the crimes that Oedipus had committed, he punished himself (free will) whereby he stabbed his eyes with one of the Jocasta’s badges (Lauriola 149).

Part 2:

Oedipus is expected to as a loyal and truthful king in contrary to his ignorance as well as predetermination of the fate. At the start of the story, Oedipus is seen as an individual taken back by the circumstances. He is not ready to accept the truth of his fate and indicts Tiresias for lies to him and Oedipus brother-in-law, Creon, had to take throne. Oedipus is enormously astonished by such news since he had no new of murdering his father and marry his mother. However, later he came to realize that those he used to believe that were his parents were not his real parents. After realizing this he did infact marry his mother and killed his father. However, he accepted the act and punished himself to ensure that he upheld his promise to his people. At this point, Oedipus was not in a position to escape this fate. According to Tiresias, “no man in the world can make the gods do more than the gods will.” Due to murdering of his father, the prior king, Oedious was shunned by all the Thebes. Since there were no ways of changing the fate, he accepted his responsibilities after giving himself a punishment. Despite Oedipus fate that was already set in place, he was not a meager marionette of the gods, meaning he couldn’t have controlled his own life (Sophocles 103).


There are many times in life when people tend to think that they have capacity of determining their destiny. However, the Greeks used to maintain that people are not in a position to change the fate set by gods. Despite people having no capacity of changing their fate, they have the capacity of taking responsibilities caused by the fate. The young king after realizing his fate, he took responsibilities and accepted the cruel actuality of what followed. The king held very hubris personality with excellent intentions but due to extra confidence, he eventually suffered.



Work Cited:

Sophocles, E. A. Oedipus the king. Findaway World LLC, 2009.

Lauriola, Rosanna. “Oedipus the King.” Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Sophocles (2017): 149.

Priel, Beatriz. “WHO KILLED LAIUS?: ON SOPHOCLES’ENIGMATIC MESSAGE.” The International Journal of Psychoanalysis 83.2 (2002): 433-443.





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