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Fate and Freewill in Oedipus Rex
Transcript of Fate and Freewill in Oedipus Rex
Establishes the unavoidable outcome of the tragedy
Triggers events that lead up to outcome
Fate is inevitable
Prophecy is carried out in spite of Oedipus's efforts, which actually bring about his fate
Symbolizes course of action that Oedipus decides to take
Oedipus recklessly kills Laius
Leads to completion of prophecy
Oedipus fulfills the first part of the prophecy through his free will
Pursuit of Knowledge
Oedipus does not heed the advice of others to cease his investigation of Laius's murder
This decision results in his discovery of the truth
Oedipus learns that he unknowingly fulfilled the prophecy, cementing his downfall
Motifs: Prophecy, Crossroads, Pursuit of Knowledge
Fate is inevitable, yet free will determines how fate will unfold.
Plot Structure: Oedipus's attempts to avoid fate only ensure that it ensues
Theme: Fate is inevitable, yet free will determines how fate will unfold
"You are fated to couple with your mother, you will bring / a breed of children into the light no man can bear to see— / you will kill your father, the one who gave you life!" (873-875)
"Laius, / so the report goes at least, was killed by strangers, / thieves, at a place where three roads meet..." (788-790)
"I must know it all, / must see the truth at last." (1169-1170)