Themajority of people living since the beginning of time up until the present,have had a some sort of opinion on the subject. Oedipus Rex is a story thatis held together by the fact that fate is more powerful than anyones freewill. On this strong basis of fate, free will doesnt even exist. This is abelief that can be accepted or denied, but in Oedipuss story, fate is provedinevitable.
In the very beginning of the story, before we hear from the oracle,there is already foreshadowing of Oedipus impending doom. He himselfstates to the people, “Sick as you are, not one is as sick as I” (Sophocles 5). This statement is almost eerie when looking back upon it. Alone, it seems asif he knows that he is ill-fated, but reading on he clarifies his pain in thisway; “Each of you suffers in himself alone/His anguish, not anothers; but myspirit/Groans for the city, for myself, for you” (Sophocles 5). His pain is nothis future, it is the plague of the country.
The same basic prophecy of Oedipus is proven in many characters. Nomatter how many times a specific character tried to play off fate and try toget rid of the situation it stayed exactly the same. Teiresias, the oracle,knows the end of all fate. He knows that fate controls every minute of anindividuals life; “How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be/When theresnot help in truth!” (Sophocles 16) Oedipus was told by Teiresias that in hislater years he would be the killer of his own father, and would marry his ownmother.
In his attempt to avoid this situation, he left both of his parentsand traveled to a far away city called Thebes. Once there he was married toa woman, that he himself was positive was not his mother, for his motherwas the woman that he had left back in Corinth. Also, being so far from hisknown home, there was no chance that he could kill his father whom he hadalso left behind. Oedipus thought he was safe, but he was not. Oedipus is not the only one that tries to escape the curse. Iocastealso tried to escape the curse.
She knows about it before Oedipus himselfknows. She first hears the prophecy just days after Oedipus is born andcannot stand to live with him any more. She sends him off to be killed,thinking that she had stopped the prophecy from happening, she worries nomore. Iocaste does not know the whole truth though.
She does not knowthat the shepard had actually disobeyed her. The shepard in which shegave the baby to disobeyed her, and didnt kill the child. Instead, in pity, hesent the baby away far enough that he thought the foretelling would not bein effect. Again this did not stop fate.
Once Oedipus found out that thepeople he had known as his parents were not his blood relatives, Iocastefound out what had actually happened. “For Gods love, let us have no morequestioning!/Is your life nothing to you?/My own is pain enough for me tobear” (Sophocles 55). These were a few of her last words. Fate took herlife. Laios the king was also not free of the curse.
He had found about itfirst and was the person that ordered Iocaste to get rid of the child. Thisdid not work, because the child was still alive, and Oedipus did end up killinghis true father unknowingly. In Oedipuss conscience, he truly didnt thinkthat he had killed his own father, because his father was far away. In thesame way, Laios did not believe that it was his own son that had killed him. Rather, he thought that his pursuer was an angry highwayman; a stranger.
All of these unproven solutions seemed very likely to avoid the curse,yet none of them worked. In Iocaste and Laioss attempts, their true sonlived instead of being killed, and was brought to another family, in which hewould grow up royally as well. When he moved away from the parents hethought was his true family, he was trying to attempt to avoid the curse bydistance. In doing this, he ended up moving back to where he had been born,killing his blood father in an argument during his travels and once arriving athis destination in which he thought was distant enough, married his ownmother and served in his fathers position as King. In this story, fate definitely could not be denied.
Sophocles probablyhad a strong belief in predestiny and he demonstrated this in his story ofOedipus. Oedipus Rex is one play that is held together by the fact that fateis more powerful than anyones free will. In conclusion, fate is the only trueevil. Everything that happens is somehow meant to be. Lastly, a littleadvice, “Let every man in mankinds frailty/Consider his last day; and letnone/Presume on his good fortune until he find pain/Life, at his death, amemory without pain” (Sophocles 78).Book Reports