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

In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus was a true victim of fate.

Extracts from this document...


Sees 1 Megan Sees Mrs. Boggio AP Literature 17 November 2011 Does Something Out There Determine Your Fate? Among the first thing a historian discovers in his study of early civilization are records of people's belief, or faith, in powers greater than themselves, and their desire to understand what causes these people to act. Some believe in free will while others believe in fate or destiny (Nortwick). In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus was a true victim of fate. Gods and goddesses were believed to be responsible for the wonders of science, and the fantasies of human nature; therefore, according to the facts of his story, Oedipus was a true victim of fate for several reasons. Laius and Jocasta, the childless king and queen of Thebes, were told by the god Apollo that their son would kill his father and marry his mother, having children of his own with his mother, blinding himself, and finally death. The logic of Oedipus' misbehavior is actually quite obvious, and Oedipus' father, King Laius, also has a similar attitude and misbehavior. ...read more.


Together they had four children, and Oedipus' awful fate had been fulfilled, all without his knowledge (Parada). The Plays begin with a plague that destructs the city of Thebes, and Oedipus sets out to find the cause. At length, he discovers that he himself is the cause; he was guilty of both murder Sees 3 and incest. When he realizes this, the utter shock and disgust of the horrific situation causes Oedipus to blind himself with the pins from Jocasta's dress (Sophocles). According to some people, this was the retribution he paid for his crime, but others would argue that Oedipus had no choice in the matter and simply had fulfilled his destiny (Nagle). The later argument seems to be more convincing because Oedipus does not consciously know of what he was doing at the time, meaning his crime was not entirely premeditated. A person cannot criticize ignorance no more than someone can sensibly attack good intentions (Nortwick). Oedipus was both truly unaware of what he had done and had no desire to harm whom he had thought to be his parents. ...read more.


His fate was not one that can either be swallowed or simply pushed aside. This is the reason why he ran from fate. But ultimately his attempt was a disastrous one, and he suffered severe consequences. His town suffered the punishment for his physical crime, and he himself was the embodied sufferer for the spiritual crime (Parada). Determinism maintains that Oedipus should not have attempted to outwit them because he could not. He went against the gods because he willed his own end and the means by which to achieve it (Nortwick). His suffering is a sign to any person who would try to do things beyond his own means because he is doomed to fail in the attempt and will consequently suffer some type of repercussion for it. The question is whether or not a life of freedom is worth the risk, and most people answer this as "no." Oedipus, unlike most people, answered "yes", and because of that his escape failed, he suffered much more greatly than most people (Nortwick). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Hamlet Journal - rewriting key passages from the play

    What do you think you are going to get out of this play? I believe I will bring out t Claudius guilt. If he can play it off, then the ghost may be wrong, but if he reacts the way I think he will I will be sure of his guilt and proceed from there.

  2. what impressions do we gain of Oedipus as a king and as a man?

    'Believe me, I've shed many tears' (l.66) . Another quality of Oedipus is being open to his people.

  1. How does Kreon act as a foil to Oedipus in Sophocles' Oedipus the King?

    Kreons reactions to Oedipus? accusations are extremely important because it contrasts the thought processes of the two. Whilst Oedipus acts without thinking, is rash, rude and stubborn in his opinions of Kreon, calling him a ?murderer? (Sophocles, 47)in a fit of rage, ?You?re the bandit, you?re the killer.? (Sophocles, 47),

  2. Attitudes to religion in the play, Oedipus, the King.

    However we see that different groups of people in the Greek society have different reactions to the Gods and their prophecies. And the people start losing their faith in the gods when the epidemic continues despite tons of offerings and tributes to appease the gods.

  1. The significance of the fatal flaws of Meursault and Oedipus in The Outsider and ...

    on wave ? unspeakable, irresistible headwind, fatal harbour!...Oh again the misery, all at once, over and over the stabbing of daggers, stab of memory...?[14] This image is hugely reinforced and emphasised through the alliteration of the letter ?D?, creating a sharp sound ? amplifying the sinister imagery created by the

  2. Symbolism/Imagery/Allegory in King Lear

    ? Lear frequently associates women with sexual promiscuity and pretty much blames all the problems in the world on the ladies. 11. Something similar is at work in King Lear. When Lear imagines that his body is diseased, we can't help but notice that his kingdom is also not doing so well.

  1. Beowulf and the Concept of Preternatural Fate

    For instance, after boasting to his thanes that he will battle Grendel without weapons, Beowulf portrays assurance in God?s salvation of himself, the worthier warrior, as he states, ?And may the Divine Lord/in His wisdom grant the glory of victory/to whichever side he sees fit? (685-687).

  2. What is the role of fate in the tragic plays "Oedipus" by Sophocles and ...

    Fate is responsible for the fall of Miss Julie, and it is the irony of her life that a proud aristocrat is robbed of her honour by a mere valet! ?I'm sitting on top of a pillar that I've climbed up somehow and I don't know how to get back down.

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