Monday, September 2, 2019

Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Free Choice in Oedipus the King - Avoidance of Prophecy :: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex

Avoidance of Prophecy in Oedipus Rex    Oedipus Rex illustrates the Greek concept that trying to circumvent prophetsÕ predictions is futile. The play includes three main prophecies: the one made to Laius concerning his death by the hands of his son, a similar one directed to Oedipus, and one made by Tiresias foretelling OedipusÕ discovery of the murdererÕs identity. Both recipients of these oracles attempt to avoid their destinies, but both wind up following the paths which the Fates have prescribed. Laius had received a prophesy which declares Ã’that doom would strike him at the hands of [his] son....Ó Jocasta, in an attempt to ease OedipusÕ worries, endeavors to defame prophesy in general by describing LaiusÕ apparent circumvention of the augury. When LaiusÕ son wasnÕt yet three days old, the king had the infantÕs ankles fastened together, and then gave the boy to a henchman to be flung onto Ã’a barren, trackless mountainÓ; Jocasta believes her son dead. Laius had believed that by killing his only son, he would be able to avoid the oracleÕs prediction. However, the shepherd entrusted with the terrible task of infanticide pitied the baby and gave him to another shepherd, who, in turn, donated the child to the King and Queen of Corinth. The boy, Oedipus, was raised as the son of King Polybus and Queen Merope, and still believes himself to be their issue even as Jocasta relates the ironic story of his own previous Ã’death.Ó Oedipus, of course, finds out that it was indeed his own, true father, Laius, that he has killed at the crossroads at Phocis. LaiusÕ attempt at foiling fate didnÕt work; Oedipus killed him because of a slight insult. Because Laius felt to shameful to kill the infant himself, he took a risk in hoping that his loyal shepherd would murder the child for him. That risk allowed Oedipus to live and, therefore, to kill his own father without knowing his true identity. Had Laius not attempted to have his newborn 1 killed, the boy still would have caused his fatherÕs death somehow, because the oracles are never wrong, and most Greeks realize thereÕs no way to escape fate. Oedipus also tries to avoid his fate, which he had received from ApolloÕs oracle at Delphi. While Oedipus lived as Prince of Corinth, a drunken

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