READ: Sophocles and Oedipus Rex

4 Imagery of Oedipus

Throughout the play, Oedipus the King, the imagery that is apparent is that of sight and blindness, light and darkness.

Most people think, after reading this play that Fate must be irrevocably pre-determined, fore-ordained and laid down by the gods. Free will is an illusion. The more that man tries to lay out a path for himself different than that fixed by Destiny, the more he is sure to follow that path.


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Oedipus does follow a predetermined path, but he does this because his nature wills it. He fled his foster parents, without first making an inquiry into his birth; he felt intellectually challenged enough to demonstrate his intelligence by solving the riddle of thee Sphinx; he chose to marry a woman old enough to be his mother.

He allows his passions and quick temper to rule his better instincts; he denounces the Priest, or seer, as a traitor; he accuses brother-in-law of treachery; and he fiercely and doggedly pursues the truth at his own cost, and that of the people nearest and dearest to him.

Oedipus displays impiety towards the gods, hot anger towards the well intentioned and intellectual inquiry beyond the bounds of reason. For these reasons, he could be seen to commit HUBRIS. At the very least he demonstrates a significant lack of common sense or well-rounded wisdom.

Fate is only a term that is used to describe the way that life turns out for men, not to describe how it was predetermined from the start. All of us have the ability and the freedom to disregard such a notion and follow our own desires and suffer the consequences of these actions.

Think about this....can there be any real human suffering without free will?

Sophocles, Oedipus the King, (429 B.C.).