Oedipus: Fate's Triumph Over Human Interference - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  918 Words
Date:  2023-02-09


The theme of fate is evident in Oedipus the King. In Greek society, people believed that gods made their fate and that fate was predetermined and unavoidable (Choki and Khurana 50). Laius and Jocasta, Oedipus parents, are given the prophecy that their son will kill his father and end up marrying his mother and even bear children with them. We first encounter the theme of fate when the parents decide to dispose of their son by killing him. However, fate triumph as the infant's life is saved by a shepherd and therefore foiling the parents attempt to assert free will (Choki and Khurana 52). In the following paper, we will discuss fatalism in Oedipus, the king.

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Fate is a phenomenon where there is a dominant supernatural power which predetermines human life and events (Choki and Khurana 51). Oedipus fate seems incomplete before the start of the play, and the prophecy decides his fate. Apollo asks for Laius killer to be investigated and found though he is aware that Oedipus killed his father. There is a plague in the kingdom which is attributed to the death of the King Laius, and Oedipus displays pride when he searches for the killer to end the plague when he is, in fact, the killer. He tries to find a killer and hide from his action. Oedipus relentlessly searches for the killer and is ignorant that he is the killer and ignorant that fate would soon close upon him (Bloom 111). Again, he is ignorant that by looking for the killer, he is sealing his fate. The god sent the plague and later directed Oedipus to look for the killer (Gould 509). This illustrates a predetermined path to destiny.

Oedipus is confident that searching the killer allows him to use his free will. When Tiresias, the blind prophet, is invited to the palace to reveal the identity of the killer, he declines (Bloom 111). While Tiresias is confident about the prophecy, Oedipus free will seems to falter. Oedipus continues to search for the killer and ignores the numerous warning he receives. Oedipus ignorance results in his destruction as he later discovers that he is responsible for killing Laius and that his wife is truly his mother.

Oedipus had left his adoptive parents home to prevent a prophecy from coming true and used his free will to make this decision. However, his free will fulfils the prophecy. We can argue that Oedipus destiny is predetermined. The gods are responsible for his fate (Bloom 36). When fate is predetermined, there is little room for free will to intervene.

The topic of fatalism is contentious. While some scholars believe that Oedipus destiny was a tragedy of fate, others argue that it is not. Gould (479) reasoned that if the tragedy of fate dictates Oedipus life, the protagonist is that he is not responsible for any of his miseries. He is a man ruined by he has no influence over and cannot be expected to understand (Gould 479). If he is not responsible for his destiny, then his story is sad and fails to engage moral sensibility, meaning it is not moving or profound. However, Oedipus is moving and profound meaning that he is not a tragedy of fate (Gould 479).

Examining fatalism in the modern world leads us to understand the fatalistic thinking across different cultures and religions. We may argue that destiny is not defined by fate but rather by human actions and their behaviors. We shape our life and do not expect that someone else will, or there is a predetermined pattern or destiny. After all, questions arise when we think that some forces or prophets in the modern world can prophesy our future. This is especially true in a society that has changed, and there are increased interpretations of prophets and gods.

Young et al. (1036) established that the fatalistic thinking and interpretations of events in one's own life centred on influences of the deity for Christians. This was true, especially for the high in religiosity. For the Hindus, the fatalistic interpretation of events in one's life is centred on destiny (Young et al. 1038). Further, Christians focus on fate against chance when interpreting misfortunes in their life depend on the information of misdeeds, which is not the case for Hindus (Young et al. 1038). This explains that destiny is defined through the deity in most religions. However, the dependency of destiny on fate varies for most cultures.


In conclusion, human beings believe in fate as we have a belief in God. Fate is inescapable and unchangeable, and whatever precautions we take, we still face fate. Fate is unchangeable and predetermined. Oedipus fate was already predestined and written. We need support fate either consciously or unconsciously as we nature, events, human conscious and humans support fate. Again, we can argue that what is meant to be will be. Just like in the case of death, it is already predestined that all humans are mortal and will die. Whatever actions we take, we cannot evade fate. We still shall die one day. We remain helpless in the hands of fate.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold, ed. Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. Infobase Publishing, 2006.

Choki, Pema, and Vani Khurana. Karma, Ritual and Sexism in Kunzang Choden's The Circle of Karma. Diss. Lovely Professional University, 2017.

Gould, Thomas. "The Innocence of Oedipus: The Philosophers on" Oedipus the King". Part III." Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics 5.4 (1966): 478-525.

Young, Maia J., et al. "Deity and destiny: Patterns of fatalistic thinking in Christian and Hindu cultures." Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 42.6 (2011): 1030-1053.

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Oedipus: Fate's Triumph Over Human Interference - Essay Sample. (2023, Feb 09). Retrieved from https://midtermguru.com/essays/oedipus-fates-triumph-over-human-interference-essay-sample

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