• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Role of Free Will in Oedipus the King

Extracts from this document...


The Role of Free Will in Oedipus the King Fate is by definition the occurrence of inevitable events that are predestined to happen in a man's life. In literature, fate has a strong connection with the concept of free will because both can guide a character to a certain destiny. In Oedipus the King, written by the Sophocles, Oedipus's ominous fate of parricide and incest is prophesized by the Oracle at Delphi. However, it is not fate that led to Oedipus's destruction, but his overwhelming curiosity, impetuous actions, and irrational judgments. Oedipus's voracious curiosity forces him to discover the horrible truth of his crimes and ancestry. His curiosity often sets him unsatisfied, and provokes him to investigate many gratuitous details. In Corinth, a drunkard bawled out that Oedipus was "not [his] father's son" (44)1. Overwhelmed with frustration, Oedipus questions his parents about his identity. Although he got the desired response, he still feels that "the thing had hatched a scruple in [his] mind" (44). His superfluous curiosity encourages him to "steal away from home to Delphi, to the oracle" (44), where he then learns of the horrible prophecy. ...read more.


Oedipus frenetically eliminates the necessity of this pivotal piece of information to be interpreted thoughtfully first. His feral personality is shown again through his conversation with Jocasta. When she tries to prevent Oedipus from knowing the repugnant truth, Oedipus blindly accuses her of "bridling at [his] paltry origin" (60) with all "a woman's pride" (60). These officious words will become a part of ignorance and guilt he eventually has to bear. Although Oedipus's fierce actions play a major role in his future, his vague judgment also plays a crucial part. Oedipus's way of analyzing problems creates flaws that direct him to meet his destiny. As the King of Thebes, Oedipus does not fulfill the requirement of being a successful leader. He leads Thebes to "follow fifteen years" (3) of "a sham prosperity cloaking corruption" (3). It was not until Thebe is "struck by plague" (3) that Oedipus finally picked up the responsibility and asks for advice from the God. When Creon returns with advice from Apollo, Oedipus does not calmly interpret the God's message. Instead, he openly requests for the killer of Laius. ...read more.


if he is found unfaithful. However, Oedipus neglects Creon's fifteen years of loyalty and still claims to "want [him] dead" (34). By not giving Tiresias's prophecy a second thought and blindly accusing Creon, Oedipus extends his own dreadful deeds. His hatred towards Creon leads him to hear from Jocasta that Laius was murdered "at a spot where the road from Delphi meets the road from Daulia" (41). This incident strikes Oedipus as he recalls that he had killed some men at the same spot. From this point on, the truth began to unravel as Oedipus is urged to find the surviving herdsman of Laius. These anticipating events resulting from Oedipus's own problematic judgments cause him to meet his acrimonious destiny. Oedipus the King presents the inevitable fate of the main character, Oedipus, of incest and parricide. However, it is not the predetermined force of fate that drives Oedipus inescapably to his destiny. Free will and Oedipus's own choice are the main sources that destroyed his life. Oedipus, with his immense curiosities, rash actions, and inconsiderate judgments, led him to meet his own doom. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. What is the role of the chorus in "Oedipus the King" the "Lysistrata".

    A very important part of the story is told to the audience through the chorus here which highlights its role in the play. The Choruses in "Lysistrata" also serve to connect the events of the story within the Greek religious and historical tradition.

  2. Discuss the themes of identity explored in "King Oedipus" and "Waiting for Godot".

    The two most frequent characters, Vladimir and Estragon also need confirmation of existence. However, this is due to the fact that they are contemplating whether they truly exist. In complete contrast to these characters, there is Godot. He is a character that never appears, and rather than having his own

  1. The affects of secrets as seen in 'Ghost' and 'Oedipus the King'.

    Her marriage was over, due to incest and she also committed suicide, "She killed herself" Oh the struggles of that lost princess!"(Pg 69) These secrets ruined her reputation, personal life, and her morals. The affects of secrets are just like the affects of lies.

  2. How far do you agree that Sophocles "Oedipus the King" is nothing more than ...

    Could Jocasta and Lauis, Oedipus' real parents be blamed as well? If they hadn't had been so scared of this oracle, would Oedipus have been left to die as a young boy alone? Oedipus also blames Apollo, "Apollo, friends, Apollo he ordained my agonies - these, my pains on pains."

  1. Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, is a tragedy that shows us no matter ...

    Unknowingly to him, Oedipus instead of escaping his destiny falls right into it; as he was wondering Greece, he comes to a three cross road, where he is provoked by an old man and his friends. Oedipus does not back down to this man and slays him.

  2. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    Gaul through their support, at the same time ruling other nations with an iron fist. In recognising that the tribes needed to be treated differently is a sign of his strong leadership. He was a man inclined to mercy until double crossed by those he had been merciful to, and then he became vengeful and aggressive.

  1. Cinderella - play script

    open it's arms to me I am in the royal palace, of all places I am chatting with the prince and King and Queen. And the color on my two stepsisters' faces is a queer, sort-of sour apple green I am coy and flirtatious when alone with the prince (spoken)

  2. Oedipus the King VS. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" "An Occurrence at Owl ...

    At this point, Bierce creates an atmosphere of mystery. The author only describes the problematic situation of the character, "The man's hands were behind his back, his wrists bound with cord. A rope closely encircled his neck" (Bierce). The reader does not know it, yet the situation alludes to death.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work