Predestination

Knowing too much of one's future is never a good thing; one will end up meeting the fate on the road one takes to avoid it. Sophocles in the Greek tragedy, “Oedipus Rex,” asserts that a man can not escape a negative fate. Sophocles supports his depiction by portraying the Irony of Oedipus’s attempt to avoid the prophecy but only ends up fulfilling it when Oedipus ends up killing his father because of road rage and marrying his mother when he becomes king. The author's purpose is to show a man does not have the power to escape a negative fate in order for people to realize that no matter what path they choose it will lead to their fate. Sophocles writes in a dramatic tone for a fifth century audience. One can agree with Sophocles that a man's fate is predetermined and this can be proven through the course of Oedipus’s actions.

Sophocles begins to establish Oedipus’s fate by fulfilling the part of the prophecy when he kills his father. On his way to Thebes, Oedipus states “I hit him a quick blow with the staff I held and knocked him from his carriage on the road.” (Sophocles, Lines 975-976) Oedipus was in rage when the driver shoved him aside which made him lash out and killed everyone there. Oedipus killed them with a staff he had with him and hits them with hard enough to kill them. It was Oedipus fate which made him choose to head through that road and led him into fulfilling part of his prophecy of killing his father.

Sophocles establishes Oedipus fulfilling the rest of his prophecy when he becomes king and marries his mother. This can be shown when Oedipus states “But then I came,Oedipus, who knew nothing. Yet I finished her off, using my wits..” (Sophocles, Line 486-487) Oedipus which did not know anything solved the sphinx riddle which made him king of Thebes. As king he married Jocasta, which is his mother, who was a widow after Laius’s death. It was Oedipus’s fate to solve the riddle to become kings and marry his mother. Fate was inevitable for Oedipus which he did tried to avoid it but ended up fulfilling his prophecy at the end.

In discussion of fate, the controversial issue is whether a man has the power to escape a negative fate. While some argue that fate is predetermined others contend that a man reserves the right to self-governance.From this perspective one can argue Oedipus chooses to kill his father, including his followers on his way to Thebes; moreover Oedipus demonstrates free will and awareness over his actions. According to this view Oedipus had control over his own decisions and actions showing a sense of self-governance. Although it was Oedipus's decision to kill his father ultimately it was fate that made him to make those choices and take those actions.

Oedipus’s fate was tragic and unavoidable ever since his birth when he was supposed to be killed but ended up being saved by the servant instead. Sophocles portrays this kind of fate at the end of the drama when Oedipus completes his prophecy with horrifying consequences. The prophecy led to terrible consequences such as Jocasta, the mother of Oedipus, killed herself and Oedipus stabbed his eyes with a brooch leaving himself blind. “Oedipus Rex” is an example that life is predetermined and the choices we make in life are steps that we take that leads into our own fate. Although “Oedipus Rex” may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of today’s concerns over moving forward from hardships in life and accepting when someone is in the wrong.