Oedipus Free Will Research Paper

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The Power of Free WIll Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, is a play which conveys the story of a man who realizes the universal human fear of attempting to do the right thing but actually causing a much bigger problem. The play covers many other universal themes, but one of the most important is the everlasting debate between fate and free will. In the play, Iocaste’s death, the prophecy, and Oedipus' belief in fate indicate that although both free will and fate play a critical role in Oedipus, fate dictates many of the major events while free will decides the extent to which these actions affect the characters. Iocaste died from committing suicide, a tragedy that leads to Oedipus’ cutting out his eyes, but the fact that Iocaste ended her own life…show more content…
This error of free will on Laios and Iocaste’s end resulted in Oedipus having no knowledge about the prophecy. If they had kept Oedipus and explained to him the situation or sent him to a trusted friend who could tell him the prophecy when he was older the whole family may have had a better choice at beating the prophecy. The prophecy dictated what would come in Oedipus’ life, and when Oedipus heard that prophecy he believed it. Oedipus, like nearly all greeks in his time, constantly prayed to the gods and believed what the people thought these gods told him. He believed in fate so much that he made the decision, while he was seething with anger, to leave Corinth. Ironically, Oedipus’ dedication to fate is what caused his free-willed action of killing his father. Oedipus recounted that he “struck him in [his] rage” (43) indicating that his anger about hearing about the prophecy made him so mad that he killed a bunch of people he passed on the road for almost no reason. His individual decision to act out in his anger made the prophecy begin to come true and eventually caused the life ruining plague in Thebes. Although fate pronounced the prophecy years before the play occurs, and all the prophesied events do happen, the prophecy only stated that Oedipus would kill his father and sleep with his mother but it

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