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Oedipus: Fate Is Unavoidable Essay, Research Paper
Oedipus: Fate is Unavoidable
No matter what anyone tries, no matter what anyone does, no matter what
anyone believes they have accomplished, they have not controlled fate. Fate is
uncontrollable. Much like betting on a ?sure thing? and knowing in the back of
your mind that there are infinite factors in the outcome–anything could happen.
It?s unfortunate that the people of Ancient Greece sanctioned the concept of
fate. In the Era of Enlightenment the idea of God-controlled fate was finally
challenged with the notion of self-fulfilled destiny; until then, men turned to
prophets and oracles. In the play Oedipus, by Sophocles, there was a ongoing
synergy between fate and knowledge that was constantly rejected. Oedipus, the
main character, struggled to dominate his own destiny, but ironically fell back
into his bizarre misfortune that was in the end, inevitable.
Misfortune, false realities, deception: all a result of Oedipus knowing
too much and at the same time too little of his true lot in life. Knowledge was
what nurtured him into false pretenses. Knowledge was a false pretense. By
knowing that his parents were out of harms way, namely his, he knew that his
prophecy would not come true. He knew that as long as his father was still
alive and he was married to a woman not even related to his mother, he would not
bear the offspring that ?men would shudder to look upon.? It was the epitome of
irony for Oedipus to know his fate, and try to avoid it with the ?knowledge?
that he had obtained: “My father was Polybus of Corinth, my mother the Dorian
Merope, and I was held the foremost man in all that town until a thing happened-
-a thing to startle a man, though not to make him angry as it made me. We were
sitting at the table, and a man who had drunk too much cried out that I was not
my father?s son–and I, though angry, restrained my anger for that day; but the
next day went to my father and my mother and questioned them. They were
indignant at the taunt and that comforted me–and yet the man?s words
rankled…I sought where I might escape those infamous things–the doom that was
laid upon me.”
When Oedipus fled from his parents, he started the chain reaction of
ironic happenstance that would eventually direct him in a complete circle back
into the same position he was when he left Corinth. The destiny of doom that
Oedipus was attempting to avoid, was the destiny that he was inadvertently
fulfilling. Fate is defined as a destined outcome; nothing can alter that no
matter what is tried. Anyway, this time it was too late for Oedipus to do
anything about it, for the infinite factors that contributed to his demise were
irreversible and dormant until the very ironically tragic end. Oedipus tried to
master fate and it ultimately mastered him.
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