Themes Of Fate In Oedipus The King

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The history of Greek tragedy shows common themes of fate versus the choices people make, also known as free will. They also show dramatic irony. The reason most Greek tragedies exemplify these themes is due to their beliefs in the Gods of that era such as Apollo, Hermes, and Athena, etc. who would often give prophecies on the fates of people. Particularly, in Oedipus the King, there was a prophecy from Apollo that in the end was revealed to have come true. The presence of whether fate or free will caused the catastrophic events of the prophecy is introduced and continues to be present throughout the entire play focusing on three points. The first point was that a person’s words or actions can lead to their own demise as well as the demise…show more content…
In this tragic irony Oedipus unintentionally maps out his own fate. This irony is displayed throughout. The characters also used both words and had actions that were ironic. For example, when Oedipus says the phrase, “To find the murderers of Laius, And slay them or expel them from the land.” The very fact Oedipus is the murderer is ironic, this is especially true because all of this he would be doing to himself. He unknowingly publicly states this, despite facts that were presented in front of him in many forms. His own pride led him into blindness where he couldn’t see what was happening. This point was cleverly illustrated by the blind Tiresias who although was physically blind could clearly “see” what was happening. Ironically, Oedipus who could physically see was “blinded” by the truth stating “This tricksy beggar-priest, for gain alone Keen-eyed,but in his proper art stone-blind Say,sirrah, hast thou ever proved thyself A prophet? When the riddling Sphinx was here Why hadst thou no deliverance for this folk?And yet the riddle was not to be solved” Another point in irony was Oedipus’s name. His very name had a clue to the prophecy. Oedipus means swollen foot.” The following exhibits how his foot became swollen “As for the child, it was but three days old, When Laius, its ankles pierced and pinned Together, and gave it to be cast away.” This was a clue that there may be a connection since he…show more content…
Sophocles does a creative job in fulfilling his main point to get people thinking about the idea of fate or free will choice from both perspectives clearly using both sides to illustrate the outcome in Oedipus the King. The question left in a reader or play viewer's mind is did fate play a role or did the actions of those involved cause the catastrophic events by their own free will choices. The Dramatic irony used unfolds the characters’ actions that are meant to avoid their fate and ultimately cause it to

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