Expert Answers
favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The moral of Oedipus Rex is that pride goes before the fall. Oedipus has immense pride, so much pride that he believes he can outsmart the gods who prophesied, via the oracle of Delphi, that he would kill his father and marry his mother. When the oracle gave him this prophecy, he decided that he would simply not return home to Corinth, and he would avoid his parents Polybus and Merope, so that the oracle's words could not come true. However, it is actually this proud decision that enables the prophecy to come to fruition. Oedipus doesn't know that he is adopted and that Polybus and Merope are not his birth parents, so when he decides to go to Thebes instead of home to Corinth, his pride—thinking that he knows more than the gods who inspire the oracle—leads him into the very danger he sought to avoid.

Further, when he calls the prophet Teiresias to town to speak with him, Oedipus refuses to accept the prophet's words and, again, becomes proudly angry when the prophet insists that he knows better than Oedipus. Teiresias tries to protect Oedipus from the truth, and Oedipus sees only that the prophet refuses to answer his questions. Again, he thinks he knows best, better than a man who is given the divine gift of prophecy from the gods. This pride leads to his downfall.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The moral of the play is that you cannot escape fate, no matter how hard you try. Jocasta and Laius thought they could outsmart fate by exposing their infant son to the elements, which would lead to his death. They didn't count on fate's stepping in and having a kind-hearted shepherd give the baby to another shepherd, who eventually gave the child to King Polybos. Oedipus, thinking he was the son of Polybos, would never imagine killing his own father. But that's what he did when he killed Laius. And everyone was horrified when they learned that fate had succeeded in fully carrying out the prophecy by having Oedipus marrying and have children with his own mother.

To paraphrase the old commercial, "It's not nice to fool Fate!"

Visit the links below for more information.

brandih eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Please follow the link below to a previously asked question about the role of the chorus.

zumba96 | Student

You cannot escape you're fate no matter what you try to do. Oedipus is bound by his fate instead of his free will. He leaves his adopted home in search of another so he can avoid the prophecy. He literally does anything and everything he can to make sure he will not be affected by the prophecy. However, because of this once he has his old home back, unknowingly, he bedded his mother (yeah I know its gross), and sired children. He became his own downfall in trying to escape from his fate. This shows fate is inevitable.