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Oedipus Rexin my opinion fate does not have large influence in Oedipus's life. the...

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saharm | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted January 11, 2011 at 11:52 AM via web

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Oedipus Rex

in my opinion fate does not have large influence in Oedipus's life. the oracles and his parents have more impact in his life because if they did not give him to the shepherd to be killed and, instead kept him by their sides, he would not have been in the position to kill his father and marry his mother.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 11, 2011 at 12:18 PM (Answer #2)

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But if his parents had kept him, then he would have had many chances to kill his father and marry his mother.

To me, there is certainly an element of fate here.  Oedipus's meeting with his true father is one that comes about purely by chance.  I guess you could blame it on the oracle for telling him the prophecy, but did the oracle force him to go on that particular road at that particular time?  It seems to me that it was fate that caused him and Laius to meet on that road.  So I think that fate is playing a large role.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 11, 2011 at 5:30 PM (Answer #3)

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Whenever readers wish to judge narratives, they must always consider the time period in which these narratives are written.  For the Greeks, Fate exerted a tremendous force in people's lives.  Greek tragedy, according to Kierkegaard, is fatalistic because of the Greeks perception that each individual is integrated and absorbed in the categories of state, family, and destiny. Given these beliefs, there is an acceptance by the Greek audience of the actions of the mother and father who have feared that what they are advised will occur if they do not act.  To their way of thinking, removing their child from their home is the safest thing that the parents of Oedipus can do because they must seek to preserve the life of the father and the integrity of the mother.

Thus, the downfall of Oedipus is a result of higher powers that exist beyond themselves and it is not a consequence of his proper actions, although he does commit an act of hamartia, a criminal action committed in ignorance of some material fact.

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saharm | Student , Undergraduate | Honors

Posted January 12, 2011 at 4:40 AM (Answer #4)

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But if his parents had kept him, then he would have had many chances to kill his father and marry his mother.

To me, there is certainly an element of fate here.  Oedipus's meeting with his true father is one that comes about purely by chance.  I guess you could blame it on the oracle for telling him the prophecy, but did the oracle force him to go on that particular road at that particular time?  It seems to me that it was fate that caused him and Laius to meet on that road.  So I think that fate is playing a large role.

thank you for your answer but if the oracle tells him about his family when he asked he woulde not kill his father.oracle just told him about his fate that had told to his parents too. i think it was oracle's plan to make such a fate for him.

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saharm | Student , Undergraduate | Honors

Posted January 12, 2011 at 4:46 AM (Answer #5)

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Whenever readers wish to judge narratives, they must always consider the time period in which these narratives are written.  For the Greeks, Fate exerted a tremendous force in people's lives.  Greek tragedy, according to Kierkegaard, is fatalistic because of the Greeks perception that each individual is integrated and absorbed in the categories of state, family, and destiny. Given these beliefs, there is an acceptance by the Greek audience of the actions of the mother and father who have feared that what they are advised will occur if they do not act.  To their way of thinking, removing their child from their home is the safest thing that the parents of Oedipus can do because they must seek to preserve the life of the father and the integrity of the mother.

Thus, the downfall of Oedipus is a result of higher powers that exist beyond themselves and it is not a consequence of his proper actions, although he does commit an act of hamartia, a criminal action committed in ignorance of some material fact.

thank you for your answer but i have to say this story is like a dream. god's power is not shown that much in the story because his parents do what the oracle said. if they keep their child by their side, they can grow him up and don't let the prophecy become true. i think oracle had confused them. but according to the time of the story your answer is great.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 26, 2011 at 6:44 AM (Answer #6)

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When I teach this play, one of the major discussions we engage in is the ides of free will vs. fate. In other words, how much of what happens to Oedipus is his choice and how much is determined by things (or people) beyond his control. It almost always boils down to this: while fate does seem pitted against him, Oedipus makes his own choices, and they are the exact choices which cause his downfall. He chose to kill Laius out of pride and anger, and he chose to marry Jocasta out of pride in having solved the riddle. If he had been as concerned about his fate as he seems to be by his leaving, he would have killed no one and married no one. Instead, he thinks he outwitted his own destiny and ends up as a blind hermit living in the mountains.

Lori Steinbach

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 22, 2012 at 11:20 AM (Answer #7)

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I think you have to argue that the actions of his parents and the Oracle are the result of Fate. Also, no matter where Oedipus turned, he seemed to be doomed. He always ended up the same way, even when he tried to avoid the mistakes he thought he might make.
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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM (Answer #8)

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I agree with the sentiment that it was fate, from the beginning, that shaped the actions of Oedipus' parents and thereby shaped the trajectory of his entire life. Oedipus acted with free will, but his will alone could never be powerful enough to escape the greater will of fate and the gods. 

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