Discuss the following quotation as it relates to the play, Oedipus Rex: "Odepus is a mere puppet in the hands of God." 

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

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Oedipus struggles against his fate in this play, failing at each turn. It is the gods that have created this fate for Oedipus, yet he is determined to thwart them. His efforts to avoid his fate are based on a partial knowledge that can be seen in contrast to the more perfect knowledge of the gods.

It is only natural that, given what he knows about his fate, Oedipus would attempt to find a way to avoid it. He is told as a youth that he is fated to murder his father and sleep with his mother. 

Oedipus struggles against the oracle that predicts his hand in his father's death...But the oracle remains true, and Oedipus is helpless in the face of its powerful prophecy.

Learning of this future, Oedipus flees his parents home, essentially trying to take control of his fate. On his way to his new city, Thebes, Oedipus fulfills the first half of the dark prophecy he is attempting to escape. He kills his father. Later he marries his mother and sires children. 

The tragedy of the Oedipus story is created entirely from Oedipus' attempts to evade his fate and from his ignorance. Had he known that his real parents lived in Thebes, he never would have gone there. However, this is a tragedy. Oedipus does not know enough to avoid his fate. He knows only enough to propel him into actions that lead directly to the fulfullment of that ugly fate. 

Finally he blinds himself, symbolizing the blindness with which he has lived his life up to this point. He no longer will be pushed and pulled by illusion, by partial knowledge, and by ideas of fate. 

 

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