The Oedipus The King English Literature Essay

When tragic or happy situations occur in our lives or others, most people come to the conclusion that it was designed to be or in other words destiny. In Oedipus the King, was it the concept of fate or free will of man that chose the outcome of the play? Destiny and free will are two opposing ideas that Sophocles seamlessly blends in to the play. Sophocles ultimately leaves it up to the audience to interpret the truth behind this discussion. In Ancient Greece, destiny was considered to be a part of life. Every aspect of life depended and was based mostly upon destiny. Sophocles took a primary standpoint on the whole idea of free will. Free will is the fact that potential for a human being to make decisions in regards to what life she or he would like to lead and also have the freedom to live a life according with their own means and so choose their own destiny. Mankind has free will and can together determine how their life turns out. Both the concept of destiny and free will played an integral part in Oedipus' destruction. Although he was a victim of fate, he had not been controlled by it. In the play "Oedipus the King", many have mistaken free will for destiny. Nonetheless it would be incorrect to consider "Oedipus the Ruler" as a tragedy of the destiny where man does not have any free will. While Oedipus and those around him consider "fate" the foundation of Oedipus' problems, Oedipus' decisions show the audience that it is he who is responsible. Many occurrences in this play verify this very affirmation, like the shepherd's betrayal, Oedipus' curiosity, and Oedipus blinding himself.

Firstly, it was the shepherd's betrayal that set this tragedy in movement; even though this fact is directed at the readers prior to the play, it was discrete towards the finish. This decision of the shepherds was clearly not destiny but his free will, he choose never to destroy Oedipus, he wasn't obligated to make this decision; it was his own choice that lead him to it. The messenger clearly says the shepherds decision in the play when he asks the shepherd this question, "Well, then, inform me this. Does one remember presenting me a child, a boy, for me personally to bring up as my own?" (Sophocles 65). On this quotation the shepherds' intensions are obviously shown and after somewhat of denial the shepherd himself blurts out the reality, "In pity, get better at. I thought he'd take it away to a international country- to the area he came from. If you are the person he says you are, you were given birth to the most regrettable of men. " (Sophocles 69). Here it is clearly proven that is was the shepherd's choice, his free will that made a decision which ruined the lives of several.

Secondly, Oedipus' curiosity to find the real truth about himself and the problem is what business lead to ruining himself in the long run. With the thought of aiding his people, Oedipus opened a study of King Laius's murder, and to solve the enigma, he looks for advice from Tiresias, a blind prophet. He was very adamant about learning the reality. Even though there is regular pleads from others to avoid this nonsense, he still willingly continued for much more answers. For example: when Queen Jocosta pleaded him to stop his foolishness, "In God's name, if you place any value on your life, don't pursue the search. It is enough that I am unwell to death. " (Sophocles 60). Oedipus never gives up on his mission and he won't stop looking for the truth even though Jocasta repeatedly tries to suppress his curiosity. Oedipus reacted terribly to Jocasta because "Having a clue such as this?", the one which he found, to "Give up the search? Fail to solve the enigma of my delivery?" was just "Never!" a choice for him (Sophocles 60). Even after Queen Jocosta's plead Oedipus still decided to go on making the consequences the merchandise of his own free will and not fate.

Lastly, Oedipus blinding himself is plainly free will as he blinded himself with his own side; it was his own action and therefore his free will. Enjoy it was discussed in the play, "he ripped out the golden pins with which her clothes were fastened, lifted them high above his head, and speared the pupils of his eyes. "You won't see, " he said, "the horrors I have experienced and done. Be dark permanently how -sight that saw those you must never have observed, and didn't acknowledge these longed to see. " (Sophocles 73). Mind that this last tragic event occurred after all of the decisions created before, like the shepherds betrayal, and Oedipus' attention which in turn lead to him blinding himself all his own free will.

In order for Sophocles'' Greek audience to relate with the tragic figure, he previously to have some type of flaws or an error of ways. This brought the character down to a human level, invoking in them the fear that "it could happen to them. " And Oedipus certainly is not just one without flaws. His pride, ignorance, insolence and disbelief in the gods, and unrelenting search for the truth finally added to his damage. In the long run it was free will that helped bring Oedipus to his tragic fate. Oedipus is offered a series of alternatives throughout the play, and his arrogant and persistent nature push him to impulsively make the incorrect decisions, the decisions that in the end lead him to his downfall. Nor would the shepherd betray King Laius and Queen Jocosta, nor would Oedipus continue requesting questions, and nor would he blind himself. He was accountable of his own activities and this almost cost him his life, and led to his exile from Thebes. It can be concluded that only one assertion is clear in my books, that fate is only established from freewill.

Sophocles, Oedipus the Ruler. NY: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2005. Printing.

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