Fate for Sophocles is not something essentially external to human beings but something at once inherent in them and transcendent. Oracles and prophets in this play may show the will of the gods and indicate future events, but it is the individual who gives substance to the prophecies. Moreover, there is an element of freedom granted to human beings, an ability to choose, where the compulsions of character and the compulsions of the gods are powerless.
It is in the way individuals meet the necessities of their destiny that freedom lies. They can succumb to fate, pleading extenuating circumstances, or they can shoulder the full responsibility for what they do.
In the first case they are merely pitiful, but in the second they are tragic and take on a greatness of soul that nothing can conquer. A crucial point in the play is that Oedipus is entirely unaware that he killed his father and wedded his mother. He himself is the cause of the plague on Thebes, and in vowing to find the murderer of Laius and exile him he unconsciously pronounces judgment on himself.
Oedipus, the king and the hero who saved Thebes from the Sphinx, believes in his own innocence. He is angry and incredulous when the provoked Teiresias accuses him of the crime, so he jumps to the conclusion that Teiresias and Creon are conspirators against him. As plausible as that explanation may be, Oedipus maintains it with irrational vehemence, not even bothering to investigate it before he decides to have Creon put to death. Every act of his is performed rashly: He is a man of great pride and passion who is intent on serving Thebes, but he does not have tragic stature until the evidence of his guilt begins to accumulate.
Ironically, his past is revealed to him by people who wish him well and who want to reassure him. Each time a character tries to comfort him with information, the information serves to damn him more thoroughly. Jocasta, in proving how false oracles can be, first suggests to him that he unknowingly really did kill Laius, thus corroborating the oracles.
The messenger from Corinth in reassuring Oedipus about his parentage brings his true parentage into question, but he says enough to convince Jocasta that Oedipus is her son.
As a result, the Sphinx killed itself. The grateful people of Thebes proclaimed him as heir hero and king. They begot two sons and two daughters. Several years after, a plague struck in Thebes. In his desire to put a stop to the plague, Oedipus consulted a prophet who revealed that the plague would not end until the people of Thebes drive out the murderer of Laius who was within the city.
Oedipus thought that this was a scheme of Creon, his brother-in-law whom he thought desired to replace him as King. At this point, Jocasta told Oedipus that the oracle once prophesied that Laius will be killed by his son. She told him that the prophecy was not true as an eyewitness said that Laius was killed by highway robbers in a location where three different roads meet.
Oedipus suddenly remembered an incident in his past where he fled from Corinth and killed a man along the way because of quarrel as to who had the right of way. He thought that the same man could be Laius. As a result he asked that people to look for the herdsman who witnessed the killing of Laius.
Later on a messenger brought news that the King Polybus was dead. Laius was asked to return to Corinth to rule the kingdom. The messenger told Oedipus not to worry about the prophecy since Polybus was not his real father and that the messenger took the baby from the shepherd who found Polybus. The shepherd then revealed that Jocasta once handed to him a baby boy for him to leave on the mountain to die.
He however took pity and gave the boy to a messenger. At that point, Oedipus realized that he was indeed Laius child who killed his own father and married his own mother. Jocasta committed suicide after the revelation. Oedipus on the other hand, realizing his mistakes, took his eyes out and pierced it with a knife making him blind.
He then left Thebes after asking Creon to take care of his daughters. Your Essay Writing Partner. A human weakness that is evident throughout the play is pride.
Oedipus was a very proud, arrogant and confident man. He had such a high regard for himself that he confidently challenged the Sphinx oblivious of the possibility that the Sphinx may kill him. He knew that he had the intelligence to answer the riddles of the Sphinx no matter how difficult it was. He was successful and became the King of Thebes and married the Queen.
As the King, he became more proud and the people exalted and praised him for his courage and intelligence. He considered the people of Thebes as his children who needed his guidance and protection. The people, in return, looked up to him and admired him. It was this pride and self-confidence that drove Oedipus to investigate and search for the murderer of Laius. Upon learning that the only solution for the plague to leave Thebes and for his people to be saved is to find the murderer of Laius, he took it upon himself to find the murderer.
Despite his fears and despite having second thoughts, he proceeded with his investigation confident that in the end he will triumph and once more save the people of Thebes. This was evident in the manner he relentlessly pursued with his investigation. He used his power and position as King to look for the answers to his questions. Thus, he questioned Teiresias and other people such as the herdsman, the messenger, Creon and many others in order to find the truth.
Pride and self-confidence were also the reasons why he thought he could escape his destiny. Thinking that he can do anything, he left Corinth. He thought that by leaving Corinth, he will be able to change his destiny and rewrite his own future.
Concerned that the prophecy may be fulfilled, he left Corinth so that he will not murder his own father and marry his own mother. Oedipus, in fact, celebrated several times in the story as he thought that he successfully defied the oracle. This was evident in the story when he received news that the King Corinth had died. Though he loved King Polybus as he was raised by King Polybus as his own son, he was pleased that King Polybus did not die from his own hands.
The second was when Jocasta informed him that Laius died at the hands of several robbers. For Oedipus, this could only mean that he could not have been the person who killed Laius. And so he rejoiced thinking that he managed to defy the oracle. He lost his wife. He lost his eyesight. He lost his children. He lost his kingship.
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Free Oedipus the King Essays: Oedipus as the Hero Archetype - Oedipus as the Hero Archetype The character Oedipus in Sophocles' Oedipus the King follows a literary pattern known as the hero archetype. The hero archetype is a pattern involved with transformation and redemption.
Sep 17, · This essay seeks to prove that Oedipus the King is indeed the perfect model of a tragedy in the sense that it has all the elements of a great tragedy - human suffering, human frailty and weakness and powerlessness to control one’s destiny. Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) by Sophocles.
In the Greek tragedy Oedipus the King written by Sophocles, the antagonist is fate. The theme of fate is deeply intertwined in the plot. In this play, all meet. Script Analysis of Oedipus the King Essay Words | 4 Pages. Script Analysis of Oedipus Rex The complete fate of "Oedipus Rex," is foreshadowed by Teiresias, the prophet in Scene II: But it will soon be shown that he is a Theban, A revelation that will fail to please.