Oedipus The Mysteries Of Fate Essay Research

Oedipus: The Mysteries Of Fate Essay, Research Paper

Oedipus: The Mysteries of Fate

Robert Choi

Among the first thing a historian discovers in his study of early

civilization are records of people’s belief, or faith, in powers greater than

themselves, and their desire to understand what causes these powers to act.

People everywhere wonder about the marvelous things in the sky and on the earth.

What makes the rain? How do the plants and animals live and grow and die? Why

are some people lucky and others unlucky? Some believe in free will while

others believe in fate or destiny. In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles,

Oedipus was a true victim of fate.

Gods and goddesses were believed to be responsible for the wonders of

science, and the vagaries of human nature; therefore, according to the facts of

this story, Oedipus was a true victim of fate for several reasons. Laius and

Jocasta, the childless king and queen of Thebes, were told by the god Apollo

that their son would kill his father and marry his mother (page 56). A son was

born to them, and they tried to make sure that the prophecy would not come true.

They drove a metal pin through the infants ankles and gave it to a shepherd,

with instructions to leave it to die. The shepherd pitied the little infant so

he gave the child to another shepherd. This shepherd gave the baby to a

childless king and queen of Corinth, Polybus and Merope. This royal couple

named the boy Oedipus, which in its Greek form Oidipous means “swollen foot.”

Oedipus was brought up believing that Polybus and Merope were his real parents,

and Lauis and Jocasta believed that their child was dead and the prophecy of

Apollo was false. Many years later, he was told by a drunk man at a banquet that

he was not a true heir of Polybus (page 55). He then went to the oracle of

Apollo, to ask the god who his real parents were. All he was told was that he

would kill his father and marry his mother (page 56). He resolved never to

return to Corinth, to Polybus and Merope, and started out to make a new life for

himself elsewhere. He came to a place where three main roads met, and in the

narrow place was ordered off the road and then attacked by the driver of a

chariot in which an old man was riding. A fight started, and Oedipus, in self-

defense, killed the old man and his attendants. The old man in the chariot was

Lauis, king of Thebes, and the father of Oedipus. Although Oedipus had not

known it, he had killed his father and the first half of the prophecy of Apollo

was fulfilled. Oedipus continued on his way and arrived at Thebes. He solved a

riddle which saved the city from the sphinx. He became the king of Thebes, and

then married a lady by the name of Jocasta. The prophecy of Apollo was now

completely fulfilled. Oedipus having no knowledge of Apollo’s prophecy being

true, cursed the individual who killed Laius to be banished from Thebes forever.

After putting two and two together, it was he, Oedipus, who had killed Laius,

his own father. He did not go back on his word, and like a man, he dethroned

himself as king, and banished himself from Thebes. Once again, he was destined

to be dethroned and banished.

Comparing my life with Oedipus’, I’ve discovered a great deal about free

choice and destiny. I learned that one day, you can be the richest person alive,

yet be the poorest person the next day and vice versa. In life, anything can

happen, whether it is expected or unexpected. That is when fate overrides and

overpowers free will. Free will is a choice that an individual decides to do or

accomplish. Destiny or fate is what just happens. No one knows when or how

something will happen, but it will. Laius and Jocasta heard that their child

will kill the father and marry the mother. Even after abandoning the baby and

believing that he was dead, the prophecy was destined and somehow came true.

With me getting caught for shoplifting was also destined. The voices I heard in

my head was a warning, and I chose to ignore it but it was destined to happen.

The day our lives end, we don’t choose where we will go, we, I believe, are

destined to be sent where we belong.

In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus was a true victim of

fate. Like Oedipus, there was a time in my life when I too, felt like a victim

of fate. The Greeks had an orderly explanation of the creation of the world.

From this Greek tragedy, I learned more about their manners, customs and ideals.

I’ve grown to appreciate their love of beauty, their joy and laughter, as well

as the sorrows they experienced in life. I also realized how great of power

destiny and fate have over free will. The moral of this play I learned is that

if it’s destined, it will sooner or later happen!


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