Oedipus Rex by Sophocles - Fate vs. Free Will

Essay by erkhawkHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2004

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The Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, was written to show the common people of Greece how powerful the gods are and that your fate is pre-determined and nothing you do can change that. According to some, all people are slaves to fate, especially the fate of Oedipus. He does this by showing how people in this story try to escape their fate and how it is no use because in the end, what the oracles predict comes true. In the story there are many occasions in which people try to escape their fate.

A Freudian approach to the play will dictate that Oedipus was doomed to kill his father and marry his mother solely because he is human. Being in love with the one parent and hating the other are among the essential constituents of the stock of physical impulses which is formed at that time and which is of such importance in determining the symptoms of the later neurosis (Freud).

Freud says that Oedipus, as a man, has no free will determining whether or not to love one parent or hate the other. Oedipus Rex is a story controlled by fate and human nature.

The first time that one of the characters in the story tries to escape their fate is when Jocasta and Laius have a child. After the oracles tell Jocasta and Laius of their fate, Jocasta and Laius try to get rid of their new born baby by sending him off to a shepherd who in turn will put the baby on a mountain to die, however in the end their child, Oedipus, becomes a prince of another city and ends up killing his father, Laius in an altercation and marries his mother, Jocasta. Another example is when Oedipus tries to run away from...