The Fate Of King Oedipus Essay Research

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The Fate Of King Oedipus Essay, Research Paper Jeremy Todd English 122 4/5/97 The Fate of King Oedipus In “King Oedipus” there comes a point in the play where Oedipus learns something that plays an important role throughout the play. He learns from a oracle that he will eventually kill his own Father and sleep with his own mother. As one could imagine this is a shock to Oedipus, and he does not believe the oracle. However, he cannot control any of this from happening because it is his fate. He is a victim of circumstances beyond his control. Oedipus has no control on the outcome of what happens in his life because his life had already been planned by the Greek Gods. Throughout the whole play there are references made to many of the ancient Greek Gods, for example, Apollo,

Zeus, Dionysis, and Artemis are discussed quite often. In ancient Greece the people believed that if anything happened one of the god’s had a reason for it. Each god was related to one specific thing like Poseidon being the god of the sea. They thought that if there was a tidal wave or a hurricane it was because Poseidon was angry at them. This is the basis for my assumption that Oedipus had no control over his fate. First of all, when Oedipus is just a baby his father, King Laius of Thebes, is told in an oracle that his own son will kill him. So, with the agreement of his wife, Jocasta, the baby’s feet are pinioned, and it’s given to a slave who is supposed to leave it to die on Mt. Cithaeron. However, the slave feels sorry for the baby, and gives it to a fellow shepherd

from Corinth. The shepherd from Corinth presented the baby to the childless King of Corinth, who is Polybus, and he brings him up as his own. He gives him the name Oedipus, which means swollen foot, because of his deformity. This shows how the god’s had already intended for his life to be. He had no way to control what his parents did to him after he was born. Then, eighteen years later, he leaves Corinth for Delphi, to check on his parentage at the oracle of Apollo. The oracle, though, gives him a horrific prediction. Which is that he will kill his father and sleep with his mother, which are the two most inconceivable crime in a Greek family. After hearing this he flees Corinth and heads toward Thebes believing to of left his father behind in case the oracle was right.

However, the god Apollo has somewhat tricked him. Since he believes that his real father is Polybus, but he does not yet know that his father is the King of Thebes, which is where he is going. Along the way he meets an old man driving a wagon of slaves at a place where three roads meet, and he then precedes to kill him. Years pass after this incident, during which time he becomes King of Thebes, marries Jocasta (his mother), and fathers four children by her. Slowly, Thebes becomes engulfed by a horrific plague, which kills animals, children, and crops. Oedipus, being the brave king he is, promises to save his city. Since plagues are caused by pollution, and the pollution is caused by sins the gods are the only one’s who can reveal it’s cause. Oedipus sends his brother-in-law,

Creon, to see the oracle at Delphi again, and the god’s answer is that the plague was caused due to an unpunished murderer. That being the murderer of Laius. He then places a terrible curse on the murderer whomever it is, and then looks for help from Teiresias, the respected prophet. She tells him that he is the killer, and she hints at even worse crimes. Oedipus is enraged at what she tells him, and thinks that Teiresias and Creon have made this up to dethrone him. Teiresias departs with threats of her life while Creon begs his innocence. Oedipus does not believe him, and would have had him executed if not for Jocasta. After hearing that the argument was the result of what an oracle had told them she reassures Oedipus by saying that what the oracles say is nonsense. She then