Role of Fate in Oedipus Rex by Homer

Essay by thesinologistJunior High, 9th gradeA+, April 2005

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For the past millennia, many famous philosophers and writers have pondered upon the mysterious subject of destiny and fate. In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is fated by the oracle of Apollo to murder his father and marry his mother. The story climaxes as Oedipus learns that a man he kills is in fact his father, and that the same woman he sleeps and rules Thebes with, is actually his mother. In the book, Oedipus and other characters attempt to avoid the oracle of Apollo, but they fail due to Apollo's power. In fact, every attempt that was made, or could've been made, inevitably leads to the revelation of Oedipus' birth.

Although Oedipus possesses knowledge of the oracle, he does not see the secrets of his birth. Unaware of the complications his origin involves, he attempts over and over again to avoid the oracle. He only fulfills it. In Corinth, Oedipus first hears the prophecy and decies to stay away from Corinth: "Long ago/Apollo spake a doom, that I should know/My mother's flesh, and with mine own hand spill/My father's blood.

'Tis that, and not my will/Hath kept me always far from Corinth" (994-998). Here, Oedipus reveals the prophecy as the reason for his unwillingness to be in Corinth. However, he is not aware of the fact that running away from Corinth provides him the opportunity to meet Laius his father and later kill him, thus fulfilling the first portion of the oracle. Of course, Oedipus still must suffer the exposure of his birth. This could've been avoided if only Oedipus agrees to return to Corinth. He refuses. "Where my parents are I will not go" (1008), says Oedipus. The Corinthian then tries to convince Oedipus by telling Oedipus he is not son of Polybus, which then leads to the...