8 November 2013
Battle against Fate How people depict fate is always cheerful and magical, but fate can also be disturbing and sorrowful. Fate and free-will is a controversial topic and through the play Oedipus the King, it can be determined that the playwright Sophocles took the side of fate. In this play, Oedipus and the people around him attempt to change destiny for their own repose, but all of their struggles and efforts were wasted. What Oedipus, his parents, and a shepherd thought was the best for everyone, was just an approach to what was meant to be. Jocasta was the first to try in changing Oedipus’ fate. She thought she could change fate by killing her own son. Her son came back and fulfilled the prophecy proving that fate cannot be manipulated. Jocasta convinced herself, throughout the whole play, that she has proven to the gods that people have control over their lives. In the end she saw the truth. No matter how much people try to change fate, fate will find its way around. The last thing that Jocasta said was, “O Oedipus, unhappy Oedipus! That is all I can call you, and the last thing that I shall ever call you.”(Lines 1175-1177). Killing herself was not particularly destined, but it was Jocasta’s punishment for attempting to alter fate for her own relief.
The next evidence of fate is the shepherd. Jocasta gave her baby to the shepherd to kill him but the shepherd could not do it. The shepherd thought the prophecy would not be fulfilled if he sent the baby far away to start a distinct life, but Oedipus still returned to Thebes. Since the shepherd did not kill the baby, Oedipus came back to ruin not only his own life but the lives of the people around him and the whole city of Thebes. The Shepherd said” I did. I wish I’d died the day I did.” (Lines 1262-1263). When the shepherd accepted to kill Oedipus, he became a part of the prophecy. Although the events did not go exactly as planned, the outcome remained the same untainted.
The last and most ironic validation is of Oedipus himself. When Oedipus was a baby, he obviously could not control his actions but, when he found out about his prophecy from the oracle, he ran away hoping to avoid the damage that could have happened. He believed that he could escape