This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Fate plays a cruel role in the lives of everyone related to Oedipus. Not only was Oedipus's life condemned from the start, but the lives of his four children were also ill fated. The entire bloodline, beginning with Oedipus, met a tragic end or led a tragic life through no fault of their own. If not for fate, the lives of Oedipus and his entire family could have been much better off. The whole debacle started with the birth of Oedipus. Oedipus was the only child of Laius and Jocasta, king and queen of Thebes. They took Oedipus to the oracle at Delphi to have his prophecy read. The oracle prophesized that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. In order to prevent this from happening, Laius and Jocasta pierced Oedipus's foot and ordered a shepherd to abandon him on a mountainside. The shepherd pitied the child and gave him to a herdsman from Corinth. The herdsman then gave the child to Polybus and Merope, the childless king and queen of Corinth. They adopted him and raised him as their own. Oedipus grew up thinking he was the prince of Corinth. He heard rumors that he was not the natural son of Polybus and Merope, so he went to consult the oracle of Delphi to find the truth. The oracle repeated the same p
rophecy that was told to Laius and Jocasta. Thinking that Polybus and Merope were his parents, Oedipus left Corinth. Fate then stepped in and Oedipus met an old man accompanied by several servants at a crossroads. The old man was Laius, on his way to Delphi. Since both men were proud, they refused to step aside so the other could pass. Laius attacked Oedipus, who killed him and all but one of the servants. Not realizing that he had fulfilled half of his terrible prophecy, Oedipus continued on his way to Thebes. Upon arriving at Thebes, Oedipus was confronted by a great Sphinx. After answering the Sphinx's riddle and ridding Thebes of the monster, Oedipus was considered a hero. When the people learned of Laius's death, believed to be the fault of bandits, they made Oedipus their new king. Oedipus eventually had four children: Eteocles, Polynices, Ismene, and Antigone. This fulfilled the other half of his horrible fate. Eventually Oedipus learned of what he had done was consumed by despair. After finding Jocasta hanging from the ceiling, Oedipus shouted that he could no longer bear to see his shame and gouged out his eyes with the brooches on Jocasta's dress. Oedipus was eventually banished from the city of Thebes, and wandered around Greece, unaccepted because of the curse that was thought to be on him. If not for fate, much of the despair in the lives of Oedipus and his children could have been averted. Oedipus and Laius were both far too stubborn for their own well being, that much is true, but it was fate that brought that bundle of pride together in the first place. Fate is also responsible for Oedipus's glory in death.
Oedipus Rex: Fate V. Free Will
Oedipus Rex is a tragic play by Sophocles. The play is about a man who is doomed to the fate that was predicted by the Oracle at Delphi before his birth. Oedipus learns of his fate and immediately tries to prevent it, as did his mother and father. The actions Oedipus, Jocasta, and Laios took actually fulfilled the prophecy the Oracle told them. This paper will examine the role of fate in this play and whether or not it is as uncontrollable as Sophocles makes it out to be. The king and queen of Thebes had a son named Oedipus. Upon the arrival of their son the king, Laios, and the queen, Jocasta, went to see the Oracle at Delphi who foretold the fate of Laios, Jocasta, and baby Oedipus. The Oracle told Laios and Jocasta that their son was fated to kill his father and marry his mother. This, of course, struck fear into the heart of the young rulers. The couple made a decision to leave the baby on a mountainside with his legs, or feet bound so that he would die of exposure. This move increases the chances of having the prophecy fulfilled because they can no longer keep an eye on him, but the parents are oblivious to this fact because they believe he will die. The problem with that plan is that the shepherd that was supposed to leave him actually took him to his home city to be raised by King Polybos and Queen Merope. Oedipus grew up never knowing he wasn’t the son of Polybos. He heard someone say that he wasn’t his father’s son one day and that bothered him greatly. He decided to take a trip to Delphi to see if he could learn of his true origins. The Oracle told him what his fate was, but wouldn’t answer the question of his true parents. Believing that his fate involved killing Polybos and marrying Merope, he left the city vowing not to return until his father was dead. This is where Oedipus seals his fate, essentially. If he didn’t believe in the
power of the Oracle, or believed the man that said he wasn’t his father’s son, then he might have stayed with his adoptive parents and lived a happier life. Oedipus tried to avoid his fate, but instead, he makes it more possible for the prophecy to be fulfilled. You could say that if it wasn’t for the Oracle, then Oedipus, Jocasta, and Laios may have lived happily ever after. The Oracle led these three to their ruin. Having seen the Oracle about another matter, Oedipus heard his fate, then proceeded to try and prevent it. Laios and Jocasta believed the Oracle, but they also believed they could control their fate. The play makes it seem as though fate can’t be controlled because when you try and control fate, the decisions you make cause your fate to be sealed. It is interesting to try and figure out how these events would have been able to take place if no one tried to control their own fate. In all likelihood, the fate of Oedipus would have been much different if his parents decided to accept fate, rather than control it. It can be said that fate is only uncontrollable when you try to control it. Fate and prophecy aren’t limited to just the prophecy the Oracle gave in this play. There is also foreshadowing as to what will happen to Oedipus as he tries to discover the killer of Laios to save his city. The priest of Apollo is blind and old and knows the real truth behind the identity of Oedipus. Oedipus mocks him and states that he will never be like him, but in the end he’s blinded as the old man is and had discovered that you can’t escape your fate. Oedipus believes that fate can be controlled throughout the play, until the end. He yearns for the truth, but will not believe it when it is spelled out for him because he’s already convinced himself that he beat his fate by moving out of the city of his father. Jocasta believes she’s beaten fate, too. She didn’t believe what the Oracle had to say because Laios and she pierced their son’s ankles and left him for dead. A dead baby can’t kill his father, or marry his mother. Jocasta believes that killing her son was a mistake because if the son died, their fate couldn’t be fulfilled and if their fate couldn’t be fulfilled, then it isn’t really fate after all. Sophocles is making a point with Oedipus Rex. His point is that the more you try and control fate, the more it controls you. What does this mean exactly? Do you control your fate by accepting it? Or do you just live your life without trying to learn what your fate will be? Or is he just saying that no matter what you do, your fate will fulfill itself with or without your help? It seems likely that the point would be to just live your life and do not worry what fate will bring you because when you try to control the uncontrollable, you end up virtually painting yourself into a corner. Throughout the play you see Oedipus get broken from fate and trying to escape it. It would seem that he would lose all hope because no matter what he does, the prophecies laid out for him keep coming true. Sophocles was probably trying to say to just live your life. You can’t change your fate, so why not just keep it a surprise? Don’t waste your time with oracles and don’t try and control your fate.
Oedipus' unyielding desire to uncover the truth about Laius' murder and the mystery surrounding his own birth, led him to the tragic realization of his horrific deeds. Teiresias, Jocasta, and the herdsman tried to stop him from pursuing the truth. Take for example a part of the last conversation between Jocasta and Oedipus. After realizing that the prophecy had came true, Jocasta begs him to let the mystery go unsolved for once. No! By the gods, no; leave it if you care for your own life. I suffer. ‘Tis enough”. Oedipus replies, I cannot yield my right to know the truth”. He is unable to stop his quest for the truth, even under his wife's pleading. For it is in his own vain that he must solve the final riddle of his own life. At the end of this tragic story, when Oedipus gouges out his eyes, The events in Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, show an underlying relationship of man's free will existing within the cosmic order or fate that the Greeks believed guided the universe. Man was free to choose and was ultimately held responsible for his own actions. Both the concepts of fate and free will played an integral part in Oedipus' destruction. Although he was a victim of fate, he was not controlled by it. Oedipus was destined from birth to someday marry his mother and to murder his father. This prophecy as warned by the oracle of Apollo at Delphi was unconditional and inevitably would come to pass, no matter what he may have done to avoid it. His past
actions were determined by fate, but his adventures in Thebes were controlled by his own free will. From the beginning of this tragedy, Oedipus took many actions leading to his own downfall. He could have endured the plague, but out of compassion for his suffering people, he had Creon go to Delphi. When he learned of Apollo's word, he could have calmly investigated the murder of the former King Laius, but in his hastiness, he condemns the murderer, and in so, unknowingly curses himself. Tis a just zeal for the cause of that slain man. And right it is in me that ye shall see me fighting that cause for Phoebus and for Thebes”. In order for Sophocles' play to be categorized as tragic, the tragic hero had to have some sort of a flaw. The hero’s tragic flaws are the qualities, which ultimately lead to his downfall. Oedipus’ pride, ignorance, insolence towards the gods, and unrelenting quest for the truth ultimately contributed to his destruction. When Terrisias told Oedipus that he was responsible for the murder of Laius, he became enraged and calls the old oracle a liar. He ran away from his home in Corinth, in hopes of outsmarting the gods divine will. Like his father, Oedipus also sought ways to escape the horrible destiny told by the oracle of Apollo. The chorus warns us of man's need to have reverence for the gods, and the dangers of too much pride. But if a man tread the ways of arrogance; fear not justice, honour not the gods enshrined; evil take him! Ruin be the prize of his fatal pride!” the chorus asks him what god urged him to blind himself. Oedipus replied, ’Twas Apollo, friends, willed the evil, willed, and brought the agony to pass! And yet the hand that struck was mine, mine only”. He claimed full responsibility for his actions. Oedipus was guilty of killing his father and marrying his mother, but perhaps the true sin lay in his overzealous attempt to raise himself to the level of the gods by trying to escape his fate. Ultimately Oedipus was judged for his pride in his conquests surrounding Thebes. This judgement brought him a loss of everything and an exile from Thebes. Although Oedipus was unaware of the facts concerning the true nature of Laius and Jocasta, the extent of his crimes were still malicious. When he tears out his eyes Oedipus is accepting the full burden of his acts and knew that he must be punished for his sins. Therefore the last act of destruction was caused by Oedipus' free will, but his tragic fate came about because of the role of the gods in human affairs. The chorus concludes this tragedy by warning the Greeks that the only way to happiness is through humility and respect towards the gods. They also warn not to take anything for granted, or else suffer a fate like that of Oedipus. Look, ye who dwell in Thebes. This man was Oedipus. That mighty king, who knew the riddle’s mystery, whom all the city envied, fortune’s favorite. Behold, in the event, the storm of his calamities, and, being mortal, think on that last day of death, which all must see, and speak of no man’s happiness till, without sorrow, he hath passed the goal of life.”
Do you think that fate controls the lives of everyday people, or do you think someone's actions control their lives? In the play, Oedipus Rex, fate played an important role in the lives of the characters. . In order to avoid their predestined fate, the main characters took every precaution to avoid their predetermined destinies. The queen, Iocasta, and her son, Oedipus, both tried to escape what Teriresias, the oracle, told them, however, it would eventually come back to haunt them. [Fate controlled the lives of the characters in this play...] NEW THESIS When queen Iocasta found that she and king Laius were to have child, she went to consult an oracle for guidance. However, Teriresias had a devastating prophecy that their first born son would kill the king his father, and marry his mother. In order to prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, the king upon the birth of his son pierced the baby's feet with an iron pin to prevent the baby from using his feet. The king ordered a shepherd to abandon the child in the mountains, to
be left to die. [The shepherd, in spite of his order from the king, gave the baby, instead, to one of his friends, a herdsman from Corinth. The herdsman gave the baby to his master, the king of Corinth. It was with this family that Oedipus grew up not knowing his real family or the fate that awaited him.] AVOID SUMMARY!!! As Oedipus became a young man, he went to consult the same oracle that his biological mother queen Iocasta did. Teriresias the oracle told Oedipus the same prophecy that he had previously revealed to queen Iocasta, his mother. Oedipus, in order to escape his prophesized fate, fled Corinth never to return. He was unaware that he was adopted. During his journey, Oedipus came across an old vile tempered man who insulted him. Oedipus, in defense of his honor, slayed the old man and all of his servants. Upon reaching Thebes, Oedipus was asked a riddle by the Sphinx of Thebes. The Sphinx is a monster that is part lion, part eagle, and part human female and like to ask riddles. [ The question she asked was what walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon and three legs at night. Oedipus answered the question correctly, and the Sphinx left. The people of Thebes, in gratitude to Oedipus for ridding them of the Sphinx, made him king]. DON'T RETELL STORY!!! Another plague was placed on the city. They found out that the city was being punished because the murderer of king Laius had gone unharmed. "He was murdered; and Apollo commands us now To take revenge upon whoever killed him" (Prologue 110-111). Creon, Iocasta's brother, stated the only way to rid ourselves of this defilement is, "By exile or death, blood for blood. It was Murder that brought the plague-wind on the city (Prologue 105). Oedipus vowed to find the murderer, and he, also, said that anyone who knew anything should come forward or the same penalty will be to him or her. Creon went to get Teriresias, and although hesitant at first, he told Oedipus that he killed his father. "So? I charge, you, [Oedipus] then, Abide by the proclamation you have made. From this day forth Never speak again to these men or to me; You yourself are the pollution of this country" (Scene I, 131-135). At first, Oedipus did not want to believe what Teriresias said. After he left he started questioning everything, until he realized it was himself who killed his father. Ah God! It was true! All the prophecies! ---Now, O Light, may I look upon you or the last time! I, Oedipus, Oedipus, damned in his birth, in his marriage damned, Damned in the blood he shed with his own hand! (Scene IV, 68-72) He then realized he had married his mother, which is just what had been prophesized. Queen Iocasta hung herself, and Oedipus used her ornaments from her gown and gouged them into his eyes, never to see again. Fate played an important role in the characters in this play. Both queen Iocasta and Oedipus tried to escape their predestined fate. Iocasta had her servant leave Oedipus in the mountains to die. Oedipus fled Corinth in fear that he would kill his parents, at the time not knowing he was adopted.
The role of fate is often quite big in tragedy, and especially in Greek tragedy, where messages saying not to defy the gods appeared frequent;y. Thism is true for Oedipus Rex, a greek tragedy by Sophocles. Oedipus, the protagonist, is told by the Oracle that he will kill his father sand marry
his mother. Like any loving son would do, he runs away from home so that iut will be impossible form him to do the deed without returning. HWat Oedipus does not know is that he was adopted. A sheapard found him aqs an abandoned baby and gave it to the rulers Polybus and Merope, who raised him as their son. When he runs away from home, he roams the roads and chanches upoon his real father, Laius. Mistaking him and his groupo for robbers, Oerdipus kills them, trhuis fiulfilling the prophecy. Later, when he reaches Thebes and saves it from the Sphinx, he marries hid mmkother the QUeen, thus fiulfilling the prophecy. Tis helps to make the characters into real, three-dimensional people to whom we can realte. ""To be human is to err."" We often try to fix things we have broken, but often thiungs are worse of than before as a result of our meddling. Pessimists would say that all throgun the ages, life has some shock for us. T%his means that nearly all of us would be able to relate to the prtagonist, Oedipus. FDate also p,ay a role in the second part of the prophecy, that he would marry his mother. By answering the Sphinx's rfiddle, he ridded the city of Thebes of the monster and was made King and therefore married Jocasta, the QUeen and his real ,mother. This part was very important for the anciuent greek audiences. It shiows that evemn if you did something good, life saving a city, you copuld never defy the gods. Thgey know everything you have done and will do, indeed, they have planned it so. You can see that fate and the gids carried storng messages in those times. Lioke the Christian plays in the Middle Gaes, these tragedys served a role as relgios instruction. While fate and the gods may not carry its relevance into the millenia, making a fatal mistake after having tried will affect almost anyone. Oedipus - The Tragic Hero
In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is a classic tragic hero. According to Aristotle's definition, Oedipus is a tragic hero because he is a king whose life falls apart when he finds out his life story. There are a number of characteristics described by Aristotle that identify a tragic hero. For example, a tragic hero must cause his own downfall; his fate is not deserved, and his punishment exceeds the crime; he also must be of noble stature and have greatness. Oedipus is in love with his idealized self, but neither the grandiose nor the depressive Narcissus can really love himself (Miller 67). All of the above characteristics make Oedipus a tragic hero according to Aristotle's ideas about tragedy, and a narcissist. Using Oedipus as an ideal model, Aristotle says that a tragic hero must be an important or influential man who makes an error in judgment, and who must then suffer the consequences of his actions. Those actions are seen when Oedipus forces Teiresias to reveal his destiny and his father's name. When Teiresias tries to warn him by saying I say that you and your most dearly loved are wrapped together in a hideous sin, blind to the horror of it (Sophocles 428). Oedipus still does not care and proceeds with his questioning as if he did not understand what Teiresias was talking about. The tragic hero must learn a lesson from his errors in judgment and become an example to the audience of what happens when great men fall from their lofty social or political positions. According to Miller, a person who is great, who is admired everywhere, and needs this admiration to survive, has one of the extreme forms of narcissism, which is
grandiosity. Grandiosity can be seen when a person admires himself, his qualities, such as beauty, cleverness, and talents, and his success and achievements greatly. If one of these happens to fail, then the catastrophe of a severe depression is near (Miller 34). Those actions happen when the Herdsman tells Oedipus who his mother is, and Oedipus replies Oh, oh, then everything has come out true. Light, I shall not look on you Again. I have been born where I should not be born, I have been married where I should not marry, I have killed whom I should not kill; now all is clear (Sophocles 1144). Oedipus's decision to pursue his questioning is wrong; his grandiosity blinded him and, therefore, his fate is not deserved, but it is far beyond his control. A prophecy is foretold to Laius, the father of Oedipus, that the destiny of Oedipus is a terrible one beyond his control. But when it is prophesized to Oedipus, he sets forth from the city of his foster parents in order to prevent this terrible fate from occurring. Oedipus's destiny is not deserved because he is being punished for his parent's actions. His birth parents seek the advice of the Delphi Oracle, who recommends that they should not have any children. When the boy is born, Laius is overcome with terror when he remembers the oracle. Oedipus is abandoned by his birth parents and is denied their love, which is what results in what Miller calls Depression as Denial of the Self. Depression results from a denial of one's own emotional reactions, and we cannot really love if we deny our truth, the truth about our parents and caregivers as, well as about ourselves (Miller 43). The birth of Oedipus presets his destiny to result in tragedy even though he is of noble birth. In tragedies, protagonists are usually of the nobility that makes their falls seem greater. Oedipus just happens to be born a prince, and he has saved a kingdom that is rightfully his from the Sphinx. His destiny is to be of noble stature from birth, which is denied to him by his parents, but given back by the Sphinx. His nobility deceived him as well as his reflection, since it shows only his perfect, wonderful face and not his inner world, his pain, his history (Miller 66). When he relies on his status, he is blind, not physically, but emotionally. He is blind in his actions; therefore he does not see that the questioning would bring him only misery. Later, after his selfinflicted blinding, Oedipus sees his actions as wrongdoing when he says What use are my eyes to me, who could never - See anything pleasant again? (Sophocles 1293) and that blindness does not necessarily have to be physical as we can se when he says, If I had sight, I know not with what eyes I would have looked (Sophocles 1325). In the play Oedipus Rex, Sophocles portrays the main character, Oedipus, as a good- natured person who has bad judgment and is frail. Oedipus makes a few fatal decisions and is condemned to profound suffering because of them. Agreeing with Aristotle that Oedipus' misfortune happens because of his tragic flaw. If he hadn't been so judgmental or narcissistic, as Miller would characterize a personality like Oedipus, he would never have killed King Laius and called Teiresias a liar. In the beginning, Teiresias is simply trying to ease him slowly into the truth; but Oedipus is too proud to see any truths, and he refuses to believe that he could have been responsible for such a horrible crime. He learns a lesson about life and how there is more to it than just one person's fate.
Definition of Tragedy:
“Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions. . . . Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality—namely, Plot, Characters, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Melody.”
Would Aristotle consider 'Oedipus Rex' a tragedy?
Yes, Aristotle [384 B.C.E.-322 B.C.E.] would consider 'Oedipus Rex' a tragedy. First, Theban King Oedipus is a hero, because he does great deeds and has great powers or strength. For example, he delivers Thebes from the beastly, bullying Sphinx. He alone knows the answer to the Sphinx's unanswerable riddle. Second, Oedipus is noble. He's the biological son of Theban royal rulers. On both his parents' sides of the family, he descends from Cadmus, Thebes' founder and first king around 2000 B.C.E. Additionally, he's raised as the royal heir apparent by adoptive/foster royal parents. Third, Oedipus is tripped up by tragically fatal flaws within his own character and personality. For example, he's so proud that he thinks that he can beat the gods and escape his horrific fate. But the more he tries to flee from his fate, the closer his flight takes him to it because of his own flawed decision making. He's warned that he'll kill his father and marry his mother. So Oedipus flees what he thinks is his hometown, and the royal couple that he believes to be his biological parents. He then goes on to kill a man old enough to be his father and marry a woman old enough to be his mother. And so the prophecy is fulfilled. An inescapable fate becomes inescapable through the hero's free will in making bad choices and decisions. What Oedipus takes to be biological parents are his adoptive/foster parents, Corinthian King Polybus and Corinthian Queen Merope. What he takes to be strangers are in fact his true parents, Theban King Laius and Theban Queen Jocasta. Fourth, a pestilence descends upon the city of Thebes. Harvests go bad, livestock die, and more Thebans die than are born. The reason is the unsolved killing of Laius by Oedipus, who is the victim's son and subject. Oedipus needs to be purified of his unknowing but nevertheless heinous crimes. He doesn't go through ritual purification after the killing of father and sovereign. So Oedipus' pollution becomes the pollution of all Thebes. Fifth, there's a purification of the hero and therefore of his environment. That purification comes about through the hero's death, destruction or downfall. The hero commits an offense against the gods. All offenses must be punished be they the result of
deliberate intent or unknowing action. Oedipus' cleansing by being identified and punished as the killer likewise becomes the cleansing of all Thebes. Sixth, the hero's story is told in verse. That verse doesn't have to rhyme. Socrates [496 B.C.E.-406 B.C.E.] sets his play up as lines of verse. The lines don't rhyme. But the play is clearly a work of poetry, odes and music.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.