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Oedipus the King- Critical Analysis - Essay Example

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Jessica Soliz Professor Sarah Peters English 2332 9 April 2011 Actions Speak Louder Than Fate: What is fate? Fate is “an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end. In life, no matter what choices we make our fate will be the way it was always meant to end…
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Oedipus the King- Critical Analysis
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Download file to see previous pages However, in the end we find out that this prophecy came true despite Oedipus’ attempt to steer clear of those results. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles makes it clear fate, choices, and one’s personality all go hand in hand. Before making an in-depth analysis of the story with respect to the thesis stated above, it is customary to make a quick go through the story. Laius, the King of Thebes is warned by Delphic oracle not to marry Jocasta because if he does, the couple would give birth to a baby who would kill Laius and marry Jocasta. Being ignorant towards the advice of the oracle, Laius marries Jocasta. Upon the birth of the child, Oedipus, Laius pierces the child’s ankle and leaves him unattended on a hill to die. A shepherd takes the child and delivers him to King Polybos in Corinth. The Delphic oracle finds Oedipus and tells him that he is destined to assassinate his father and sleep with his mother. Having heard such a dreadful decision of the destiny, Oedipus resolves to run away from his family so that he would be able to make sure that he never commits the sin. On his way to Thebes, he encounters a stranger at a junction of three roads who happens to be Oedipus’s real father, Laius. Oedipus kills Laius, who is a stranger to him and proceeds to Thebes. As he reaches Thebes, he defeats the Sphinx and is rewarded with the position of the King of Thebes. He marries Jocasta in this position as she happens to be the queen. Jocasta somehow comes to know that Laius has been killed by a group of robbers. After a span of sixteen years or more, Thebes catches plague. As per his commitment with the public, Oedipus searches for the killer of Laius and ultimately gets to know that he himself is the person he has been looking for. Having realized the truth, Jocasta hangs herself to death and Oedipus loses his eye sight. The Chorus mourns the sorrowful destiny of King Oedipus. One of the most fundamental themes of this play is fate and the fact that it is beyond human power to escape fate. What is destined to happen, will happen at any cost and there is no way escaping it. This is what has happened with two main characters in the story, i.e. Laius and King Oedipus. By not paying heed to the divine warning made by oracle Delphic against his decision of marrying Jocasta, Laius essentially committed two sins; First, he went against the will of god and married Jocasta. Secondly, the act of leaving the newborn baby to hillside to no one’s discretion put Laius into guilt for the rest of his life. Laius resolved to leave the child alive on the hillside so that there would be at least one per cent chance of his survival (Vellacott 139). To this end, all that happened with Laius seems quite justified and reasonable since he had originally gone against the will of god. What is more important and yet, more difficult to comprehend is the reason for which Oedipus had to go through all the shameful experiences and reach the tragic destination of blindness. Obviously, this had to happen since the oracle had warned Laius regarding the association of the very future with his act of marrying Jocasta at the outset. So Oedipus had to be the very son of Laius who was destined to be murderer and adulterer. But it seems just too unjust for Oedipus to be the victim of Laius’s mistake since he was innocent in whatever he did because that was done unintentionally and not knowingly. However, the author does seem to make sense for punishing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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