Fate In The Lives Of Men Essay

, Research Paper

Fate in the Lives of MenFate played a large role in the story of Oedipus the King. Fate is what caused Oedipus to live in Corinth with King Polybus and Queen Merope, and what also came as his downfall in Thebes. Oedipus, Jocasta, and Laius all tried to escape their fate. Laius ordered his son to be left on the mountains of Cithaeron to die. Jocasta agreed with him, and Oedipus left his home in Corinth to avoid killing King Polybus, who he believed to be his father. They all tried to avoid the prophecy sent by Apollo, that said Oedipus “would kill his father and wed his mother” (Oedipus 163). The Greek’s idea of fate is “Events happen to people. ‘They cannot understand why it happened, but since it has happened, evidently ‘it had to be’” (Hillman 193). Fate only causes events that are unusual, that “oddly don’t fit in. It is a momentary ‘intervening variable’” (Hillman 193). There is also fatalism which is the belief that each and every thing is laid out in a superior divine plan. This cause paranoia and passive-aggressive behavior combining “meek submission to fate with a bitter anger against it” (Hillman 193). People who believe in fatalism believe that they have no control over their lives, and that their whole life is written in the stars. When Oedipus first came to Thebes there was a plague upon the land. Creon went to Apollo and asked how the plague could be removed, he was told that the murderer of Laius must be banished, or “pay back blood with blood” (Oedipus 168: Line 144). What Oedipus doesn’t yet know, is that he has killed his father, and he is the one who has caused the plague. In James Hillman’s The Soul’s Code, he states, “You are born with a character; it is given” (7). This could be used to describe why Oedipus has been born for a life of pain. Hillman’s ‘acorn theory’ says that “each person bears a uniqueness that asks to be lived and that is already present before it can be lived” (6).

Greeks believed that “all life is predetermined” (Hillman 193). “The world is off my shoulders, for it is really carried by Fate and I am really in the lap of the gods” (193). Although it is true that Oedipus could not avoid his fate, he was not in the lap of the gods. The gods had cursed Oedipus before he was born. He received “the double lash of his mother and his fathers curse” (Oedipus 177: Line 476). Although Jocasta and Laius tried to protect Oedipus from the curse of the gods, their fates still came true. Laius was killed by his son. Jocasta married her son, and Oedipus was both father and brother to his children.If you are a true believer that fate can not be changed, we are destined to sit in the lap of the gods, and have fate carry the weight of the world.


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