The Roles of Fate and Free-Will in Oedipus Rex
In Sophocles’ play, “Oedipus Rex,” the idea of a fated male appears; illustrating the repercussions of free choice. Adamant in their belief of free choice many individual live out their lives uninformed that the free choice which governs their lives is undoubtedly fated. Although Oedipus’ life is directed by fate it is his own free choice that adds to his bad judgment, stubbornness and blind rage and will eventually lead to his failure. Oedipus Rex is the story of a Theban king who is in search of the murderer or killers of his predecessor King Laios in order to lift a plague off the city of Thebes.
Throughout his investigation Oedipus learns that he is the sought murderer of King Laius, his birth dad. Not only has he killed his dad but he has married and produced kids with his mom, Queen Jocasta. Frightened by his actions, Oedipus blinds and eradicates himself from Thebes. Both these acts were prophesied to Laios, Jocasta and Oedipus years earlier at separate times in their lives. Although the fate of prediction triggered the situations surrounding Oedipus’ actions it is his own free choice that causes his poor judgment.
Oedipus’ poor judgement is highlighted at various times throughout the play. An example of bad judgment is when Oedipus chooses to face his moms and dads, King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth, about his identity after listening to the cries of an intoxicated complete stranger declaring Polybus, Oedipus’ adopted dad] not to be Oedipus’s dad. Although his moms and dads attempt to assure him by “calling it all the tirades of a slanderous fool (729 ). Oedipus in unsatisfied with their response and chooses to look for a response from the god at Delphi.
Rather of getting the response he sought, Oedipus is outlined the prediction on his life. He then make the impetuous decision to leave Corinth and never ever return. The choice to leave Corinth rapidly reveals Oedipus’ bad judgment. There is no genuine factor for Oedipus to leave Corinth, whether he stayed or left it was his fate to eliminate his father. Possibly he would have done better by choosing to remain and investigate his identity from within Corinth. There are some scholars who think since the fate of Oedipus Rex is predetermined then so are his choices.
Anne Paolucci, author of “The Oracles Are Dumb Or Cheat states “All theses so called hoices’ remain in truth consequences of a choice made long before (242 ). Simply specified Paolucci believes not only the fate of Oedipus however also his decision making is predetermined. Paolucci makes a strong case, nevertheless she requires to be advised although Oedipus’ life is fated, he is provided free will to make his own choices. However, Paolucci’s belief makes a strong argument for Oedipus’ choice to marry Jocasta specifically when the concerns surrounding their marriage are: why would anyone pick to wed somebody they understand very bit, if anything at all, about
Was this marital relationship one of benefit and commitment for Oedipus and or Jokasta Oedipus did not need to wed Jocasta, there are a number of choices which he might have otherwise made, for instance picking to learn more about Iokaste prior to their marital relationship or selecting to wed someone entirely various. Although Sophocles does not expand on the reasons for the marriage, besides to state that it is fated, it is evident that Oedipus made the decision to marry Jocasta freely, yet making this marital relationship another example of poor judgment for Oedipus. In addition to exercising poor judgment Oedipus is also stubborn.
Oedipus’s rejection to believe Teiresias, Apollo’s blind seer, is proof of his stubbornness. Unknowingly to him, the oracle has actually been satisfied, however because he is too persistent to think Tiresias. Oedipus is blind to the reality that he is the one who has killed King Laios. When the truth of his regret is presented to him by Teiresias persistent Oedipus won’t even consider it. His rejection turns into blind rage and he accuses Teiresias of being a false prophet and plotting with Kreon [Oedipus’ brother in law] to topple him and steal his kingdom. According to Robert L.
Kane, in “Prophecy and Perception in the Oedipus Rex,” he not just fails to acknowledge the fact when it is put prior to his eyes (i. e. his regret), however ends up and “seeing what is not there” (e. g., the treason of Creon). The truth is right in front of Oedipus, however his stubbornness is playing techniques on him and cause him to end up being unreasonable. The trend of stubbornness continues with in Oedipus. Against the guidance of his partner Jocasta, Oedipus stubbornly sends for the shepherd who can respond to the riddle of his identity as well as provide an eyewitness account of the murder of King Laius.
Is it fate or free will that prompts Oedipus to look for an answer to his parentage He must know that in any case this is a response that will permanently alter the course of his life. In “On The Misinterpreting of Oedipus Rex, E. R. Dodds addresses this concern when he writes “The instant cause of Oedipus’s destroy is not Fate’ or the gods’- no oracle said that he should find the reality (43 ). Simply put it is Oedipus’ own free choice that damages him with the truth. In an attempt to deter Oedipus from unnecessarily continuing with his investigation Iokaste arguments the level to which the oracles can be relied on.
Iokaste argues Hence Apollo never ever triggered that kid to kill his dad, and it was not Laois’ fate to pass away at the hands of his child, as he had feared. This is what prophets and prophecies are worth! (727 ). Iokaste wishes to be skeptical of the prophets and their prophecies due to the fact that it implies the prediction that was to befall her family never happened. Sadly for Iokaste as she hears Oedipus retell the same prediction that was handed down to her and Laois, she understands the prophecy has actually come true. Her husband King Laios has passed away at the hands of their son who is now the other half she is trying to factor with.
Iokaste pleads with Oedipus when she says “For God’s love, let us have no more questioning! Is your life nothing to you My own discomfort suffices for me to bear (737 ). Iokaste knows the repercussions that will originate from Oedipus’ stubbornness and unrelenting examining, she begs him to leave well enough alone however Oedipus is so stubborn, he can not hear what his partner is stating to him. His action to her pleas are” I will not listen; the truth needs to be made recognized (737 ). Oedipus’ stubbornness dictates the fact must be told no matter the effect.
Oedipus’actions set in motion the occasions which result in fulfilling his fateful prophecy. Instead of believing plainly, Oedipus has routine of acting and or responding rashly which at times leads to blind rage. Oedipus’ “chance encounter with King Laios on the roadway to Thebes is a look into his blind rage. Although his murder of King Laios is predicted and this coincidental meeting of the two is a scene set by the gods in order protect the fate of these two men, nothing forces Oedipus to eliminate King Laios. Oedipus can pick to neglect the dispute with the king and his taking a trip celebration, nevertheless in a fit of blind rage Oedipus kills them all.
Oedipus acknowledges his blind rage when he states “I struck him in my rage. The old man saw me and brought his double goad down upon my head as I came abreast. He was paid back, and more! … I eliminated him” (730 ). Due to the fact that Oedipus gives in to his rage the king is killed and the prediction is put into motion. There are scholars which declare that it is fate which eliminated King Laios because the oracle stated it, it should happen. In “Oedipus Rex: The Oracles and the Action Herbert S. Weil recommends “Oedipus should eliminate his daddy, and any defects of character can not make him dedicate this act.
They can just assist produce a character consistent with the inescapable (340 ). Cleary Weil thinks prophecy is the reason for King Laios’s death not a fast tempered Oedipus. On the other hand Kane points out” if Apollo set the phase for Oedipus’ failure, it was Oedipus himself who, by taking the roadway to Thebes and killing the complete stranger,’provided the raw product out of which providence fashioned a parricide (196 ). Although the gods have handed down their fate to Oedipus, Oedipus’ killing of his father give evidence to the prediction and causes parricide.
Not just does this act reveals Oedipus’ temper and lack of self-control which sets him on the road to fulfilling the prophecy of his fate however it likewise causes his ultimate failure. Oedipus’ supreme downfall does not come from his actions alone but from his unreasonable and stubborn pursuit for the fact. Yet, he continues to rave about in his stubbornness. In a fit of rage Oedipus gouges out his eyes when it is exposed that his other half is really his mother. Then in his stubbornness he requires Kreon to exile him to a land where no human voice can hear him. Is it not obvious to Oedipus that it is his easily chosen which result in his failure
Might he have taken the recommendations of Teiresias and or Iokaste the true nature of his actions may have never been exposed and Iokaste might have never taken her own life. By the end of the play Oedipus clearly acknowledges his responsibility for fulfilling the prophecy when he confesses “the god was Apollo. he brought my sick, sick fate upon me. But the blinding hand was my own! (745 ). Here, Oedipus is stating that while his life was fated, his action to this fate was his own free will. Although life is guided by fate it is one’s own free will their successes and or downfalls.