In Oedipus Rex, is Oedipus's fall the result of fate, predestination, and the gods, and it would happen despite his character or is his fall a result only of his character?a. Oedipus's fall is the...

In Oedipus Rex, is Oedipus's fall the result of fate, predestination, and the gods, and it would happen despite his character or is his fall a result only of his character?

a. Oedipus's fall is the result of fate, predestination, and the gods, and it would happen despite his character. 

OR

b. Oedipus's fall is the result only of his character and has nothing to do with fate of the gods.


Could anyone please give me any good points to talk about on either of these assertions? PLEASE. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much!

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

Posted on

Arguing that Oedipus had no power to change the course of his destiny and that his fate was not defined or determined by his character, you might point to these ideas:

  • Oedipus does everything he can think of to escape his fate. He leaves his home to avoid killing his parents and never goes back. 
  • Oedipus is honorable. An honorable man does not deserve the fate that Oedipus suffers. His honor is proven by the respect he gains from the people of Thebes, by his actions that save the city, and by his strong desire to avoid the odious fate assigned to him. 

...the oracle remains true, and Oedipus is helpless in the face of its powerful prophecy.

Arguing that Oedipus was responsible for his fate and that his character does determine his outcome, you might point to these ideas:

  • Oedipus only meets his end due to pride and hubris. If Oedipus had humbly accepted his fate, he would not have left his home town, would not have killed his father on the road and would not have married his mother. 
  • Even after Oedipus has fulfilled his fate, he can escape guilt by dropping his proud dedication to brave honesty. He is advised by several people to do this, including Jocasta and Tiresias. In his pride of honesty, Oedipus will not be persuaded and so demands that his terrible situation be illuminated. 

...by demanding that others tell him all they know he is forced to confront the hideous facts of his patricide and incest.

Sources:

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