Suffering In Sophocles 'Oedipus The King'

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A Fate of Suffering The truth can be an excuse someone uses to justify their actions. It can be a positive force that drives someone to excel and answer complicated questions that have been avoided in the past. However, it can also be the force that initiates a series of destructive actions in order to find answers. In the play Oedipus, by Sophocles, and the tragedy Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, curiosity instigates several murders and harmful acts due to the curiosity that two prophecies give the main characters. In these tragedies, both of the main characters are challenged when their fate is revealed. Oedipus’ prophecy causes him to suffer a greater tragedy because the prophecy forces him to run away from his home, murder his father,…show more content…
Oedipus discovers his fate when he meets with an oracle after a man brings suspicious thoughts to Oedipus’ mind about his family. Oedipus is greatly disturbed when the oracle unveils his future by saying, “You are fated to couple with your mother, you will bring/ a breed of children into the light no man can bear to see-/ you will kill your father, the one who gave you life!” (Sophocles 205). This prophecy causes Oedipus to panic, so he leaves his home and family in order to protect his mother and father. However, Oedipus does not know that the king and queen of Corinth are his adopted parents, so he unknowingly puts himself and his real family in danger. Similarly, Macbeth receives a prophecy from three witches. After a victorious battle, Macbeth begins his long journey back to his home. When Macbeth encounters the three Weird Sisters, they tell him “All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis/ All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor/ All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (Shakespeare 1.3.51-53). Unlike Oedipus, Macbeth’s initial foretelling is honorable and positive and is told that he will become king. Macbeth accepts the challenge after a messenger makes him Thane of Cawdor, just like the prophecy predicted. Oedipus and Macbeth both gain insight about the surprising fortunes of their future, but Oedipus’ causes him to suffer more than Macbeth because his prophecy creates darkness and fear due to the fact that he is destined to destroy his

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