Oedipus And Fate

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Oedipus and FateFate: an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end.

Ancient Greeks believed that their destiny was not in their control, but that from the day they were born, it was already determined. Whether this was simply a way of shifting the blame off of themselves or not can still be debated, but I do believe that Oedipus's life and his destiny were fated and no matter how hard he tried he could not escape it.

When he was told that he would kill his father and marry his mother, he did not simply choose to ignore it or not attempt to do anything to prevent it, he went far away from who he believed were his parents to a place called Thebes believing that this act would let him escape his fate. However, what he did not know was that Polybus and Merope were not his birth parents, thereby enforcing the fact that it was fate that directed Oedipus's life because he had no way of knowing that they were not, in fact, his true parents.

Again, fate took hold of Oedipus's life when he came upon a wealthy man with his servants where three roads meet. Although it was not a wise choice to kill the man and almost all of his servants, it was not necessarily as horrible of a crime as it would be considered today since the man had insulted and assaulted Oedipus. True, he should have been more cautious in his actions since the Oracle told him that he would kill his father and marry his mother, he had no reason to believe that Polybus and Merope were not his real parents, and even if they were not, what were the chances that this random man he came upon would turn out to be his real father? In the end of the play, Oedipus reacts to everything that has happened by gouging his eyes out because he was so blind to what he had done. However, in the ending of the play, it is not himself that Oedipus blames, but says that the gods, and in particular Apollo, ordained what he himself did.

In conclusion, fate dictated Oedipus's life, not Oedipus himself because he did try to escape what the Oracle foretold but, unknowingly, he walked straight into it. How could he have known that Polybus and Merope were not his parents? How was Oedipus to know that this man he chanced upon at the crossroads was, in fact, his true father and the Jocasta was his true mother? There was no way Oedipus could have figured out these things to save himself from his misery, because it was fate, and fate is inevitable.