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Need help understanding this quote & questionHey, I'm having some trouble undestanding...

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iamthemaniac | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 18, 2012 at 4:53 PM via web

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Need help understanding this quote & question


I'm having some trouble undestanding this question can anyone help me?


"Fate, for Sophocles is not something essentially outside man, but something inherent in his character and yet transcendent as well" How does the play illuminate this idea of fate?

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 18, 2012 at 7:44 PM (Answer #2)

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I'll assume your talking about Oedipus the King, although it could be Antigone or something else.

Fate is outside man in that he cannot originate or influence it. It's inherent in his character in that he is born with certain traits (including his "tragic flaw") that will irrevocably influence his life.

Oedipus cannot run from his fate: to kill his father and marry his mother. He also cannot alter his own character, which includes the tragic flaw of hubris, or excessive pride.

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 18, 2012 at 8:47 PM (Answer #3)

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In Oedipus the King, we see a man who is defined by his fate.

Oedipus was told that he would do certain things and those things defined his path in life. In trying to avoid his fate, he became a king. Ultimately, however, he was not able to avoid his fate at all, despite his dedication to this aim. Fate was a force larger than his own will, more powerful, and inescapable. 

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM (Answer #4)

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Sophocles' plays do speak to the idea of fate, but also to the internal qualities of man which drive him to act.  He writes of Oedipus' tragic flaw (pride, thinking he can outwit his predestined fate) and then extends the idea intoAntigone. Consider the scene when Creon confronts Antigone after trying to move her father's body.  Creon laments Antigone's lineage of insufferable pride which will lead her to disaster.

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