Oedipus Rex 2

Fate is an issue that is mentioned in almost every religion. The

majority of people living since the beginning of time up until the present,

have had a some sort of opinion on the subject. Oedipus Rex is a story that

is held together by the fact that fate is more powerful than anyone’s free

will. On this strong basis of fate, free will doesn’t even exist. This is a

belief that can be accepted or denied, but in Oedipus’s story, fate is proved


In the very beginning of the story, before we hear from the oracle,

there is already foreshadowing of Oedipus’ impending doom. He himself

states to the people, "Sick as you are, not one is as sick as I" (Sophocles 5).

This statement is almost eerie when looking back upon it. Alone, it seems as

if he knows that he is ill-fated, but reading on he clarifies his pain in this

way; "Each of you suffers in himself alone/His anguish, not another’s; but my

spirit/Groans for the city, for myself, for you" (Sophocles 5). His pain is not

his future, it is the plague of the country.

The same basic prophecy of Oedipus is proven in many characters. No

matter how many times a specific character tried to play off fate and try to

get rid of the situation it stayed exactly the same. Teiresias, the oracle,

knows the end of all fate. He knows that fate controls every minute of an

individual’s life; "How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be/When there’s

not help in truth!" (Sophocles 16) Oedipus was told by Teiresias that in his

later years he would be the killer of his own father, and would marry his own

mother. In his attempt to avoid this situation, he left both of his parents

and traveled to a far away city called Thebes. Once there he was married to

a woman, that he himself was positive was not his mother, for his mother

was the woman that he had left back in Corinth. Also, being so far from his

known home, there was no chance that he could kill his father whom he had

also left behind. Oedipus thought he was safe, but he was not.

Oedipus is not the only one that tries to escape the curse. Iocastê

also tried to escape the curse. She knows about it before Oedipus himself

knows. She first hears the prophecy just days after Oedipus is born and

cannot stand to live with him any more. She sends him off to be killed,

thinking that she had stopped the prophecy from happening, she worries no

more. Iocastê does not know the whole truth though. She does not know

that the shepard had actually disobeyed her. The shepard in which she

gave the baby to disobeyed her, and didn’t kill the child. Instead, in pity, he

sent the baby away far enough that he thought the foretelling would not be

in effect. Again this did not stop fate. Once Oedipus found out that the

people he had known as his parents were not his blood relatives, Iocastê

found out what had actually happened. "For God’s love, let us have no more

questioning!/Is your life nothing to you?/My own is pain enough for me to

bear" (Sophocles 55). These were a few of her last words. Fate took her


Laïos the king was also not free of the curse. He had found about it

first and was the person that ordered Iocastê to get rid of the child. This

did not work, because the child was still alive, and Oedipus did end up killing

his true father unknowingly. In Oedipus’s conscience, he truly didn’t think

that he had killed his own father, because his father was far away. In the

same way, Laïos did not believe that it was his own son that had killed him.

Rather, he thought that his pursuer was an angry highwayman; a stranger.

All of these unproven solutions seemed very likely to avoid the curse,

yet none of them worked. In Iocastê and Laïos’s attempts, their true son

lived instead of being killed, and was brought to another family, in which he

would grow up royally as well. When he moved away from