Oedipus Rex, when broken down into its core ingredients, is a story of a man's dealing with his guilt at inadvertent murder of his father and incest with his mother.
Many people over the decades have thought that King Oedipus didn't deserve the troubles and misfortunes he encountered. It was believed that the god's predetermined people's lives, and it was unavoidable. Others thought that everyone had their specific place in life. They must die on their "appointed day," but whatever happened in between those two "fateful days" is up to their free will. It is the choices they make in their lifetime that determine their happiness.
In any case, Sophocles has provided a conclusive answer to those who suggest that Oedipus could, and therefore should, have avoided his fate. The oracle was "unconditional." it did not say, "If you do so-and-so you will kill your father," it simply said "You will kill your father and sleep with your mother."
The ancients believed that whatever an Oracle predicts was bound to happen. Oedipus does what he can to evade his destiny, he resolves never to see his supposed parents again. But it is quite certain from the first that his best efforts will fail.
Others would argue that because Oedipus was a tyrannical ruler and didn't make the best choices in life, he deserved to suffer. E. R. Dodds states that, "Oedipus' behavior on the stage reveals the man he always was: he was punished for his basically unsound character." It was unavoidable and was his destiny to suffer in life. It was certainly not his fault that he reacted to his circumstances as he did.
One of the most outstanding examples of the god's predetermination, is when Oedipus recalls memories of his own childhood in Corinth when the oracle warns...