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Oedipus: Fate Vs. Free Will

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Ella De Falco

on 17 January 2013

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Transcript of Oedipus: Fate Vs. Free Will

Fate vs. Free Will Oedipus Rex The play opens with the plague
Oedipus is the king after solving the riddle of the sphinx (human intelligence)
He now sees himself as godlike (hubris)
Suppliants-An act or instance of supplicating; humble prayer, entreaty, or petition
The people of Thebes are suppliants to Oedipus and the gods
Therefore they see Oedipus as a god The beginning of the play "Then learn that mortal man must always look to his ending, and none can be called happy until that day when he carries his happiness down to the grave in peace." - Chorus By: Julianna Augustine, Ella DeFalco, and Kelsey Fenner Greek's ideas on fate
-The Greeks believed fate explained any happenings in life that were beyond human power to explain
- Fate was known as Moirai
-thought that fate was even more powerful than Zeus
- The three Fates were called Clotho, Atropos, Lachesis
-spun threads of fate and spoke prophesies
-The gods could not change what the Moirai prophesied The End Who brought about Oedipus's Downfall?
The gods:
He is a victim of his fate
The gods want Lauis death to be avenged
-brings about the plague
-causes Oedipus to begin to search for Laius's killer Tragic exaltation:
- Oedipus' life has permanently been ruined
- Literal blindness
- Exile Tragic Exaltation (contind.) It's the end of the world as we know it Les Miserables Beauty and the Beast Hi Kelsey Can't catch me The End of the Play:

Didacticism- teaching or intending to teach a moral lesson
Teaches that the gods ultimately choose fate and there isn't free will
Creon: "You are asking me for what the gods must give." (page 148)
Chorus: "Therefore, while our eyes wait to see the destined final day, we must call no one happy who is of mortal race, until he has crossed life's border, free from pain." (page 149)
Jocasta's reaction to the divine prophecy it to kill herself.
"by her own hand. The worst pain in what has chanced is not for you, for yours it is not to behold. Nevertheless, so far as my own memory serve, you shall learn that unhappy woman's fate" (Messenger, page 142) Oedipus:
-Believes he has free will, and his actions have outwitted the gods.
-"Loxias once said that I was doomed to espouse my mother and to shed with my own hands my father's blood. This is why my home in Corinth was long kept by me afar-with happy outcome, indeed." -Oedipus, page 136 Human vs. Divine Intelligence
-Oedipus believes that his intelligence will allow him to change his fate
-"Did you rise to the crisis? Not a word,you and your birds, your gods—nothing. No, but I came by, Oedipus the ignorant, I stopped the Sphinx! With no help from the birds,the flight of my own intelligence hit the mark." -Oedipus Catharsis
- New sight
- Cosmic moral order restored
- "Peace" of his end
Ending is not gloom, but emotional restoration Surrender to the Gods and Cosmic Moral Order Ultimate resolution: Oedipus faces his fate
Oedipus has no control over his ending, but blinds himself freely
"If I had sight I do not know with what eyes I could even have looked..." -Oedipus pg. 145 The Gods Cruel or just?
- perspective of Oedipus
- "Woe is me! Alas, alas, wretched that I am! Whither, whither, am I borne in my misery?" -Oedipus pg. 144
- perspective of audience/Chorus
- "Alas, thou child of Laius, would, would that I had never seen thee!" -Chorus pg. 142 Reverence or Irreverence All characters feel reverence toward the gods
Supplicants, Priest, Chorus, even Oedipus
"...By a god's aid, it is said and believed, did you uplift our life." -Priest, pg. 114
Even if hated, gods are revered
Emphasis on divine law
Play is not indifferent towards gods Does Sophocles believe in cosmic order? Predetermined fate of all characters
- Herdsman pg. 141: "The tale ran that he must slay his sire."
All outcomes ultimately administered by the cosmic order
- "Apollo, friends, Apollo was he that brought these woes of mine to pass..."
-Oedipus pg. 144
Sophocles believes that the gods control all - Ultimately, the gods have complete intelligence
-the gods' knowledge will conquer mortal intelligence
-Teiresias stands as the voice of Apollo
-He is the character who has the knowledge of Oedipus true lineage
-"You have sight but do see not in what misery you are."
-Teiresias, page 123. Connection to Sophocles
-His plays deal with pain and suffering when a character obstinantly defies divine will or authority and obeys his inner will
-Initially attempts to leave Corinth to stop the prophesy from coming true
-Refuses to believe Teiresias, who was representitive of Apollo
-"But he is dead and hid already beneath the earth and here am I, who have not put hand to spear." -Oedipus, page 135
-"But the oracles as they stand, at least, Polybus has swept with him to his rest in Hades; they are worth nothing." -Oedipus, page 135 "King glorious in all eyes, we beseech you, all we suppliants, to find for us some succor, whether you know it by the whisper of a god, or perchance as in the power of man" (Priest, Page 114) "You are asking me for what the gods must give."
-Creon, page 148
Full transcript