Oedipus, the King

I agree with Dodd’s assertions. Oedipus’ sequence of actions, his self-banishment and his self-mutilation clearly reveal that Oedipus is responsible and accountable for his ruin. Fate is not involved.  In Sophocles’ play, Oedipus the King, Oedipus is accountable for the tragedy and the misfortune of his ruin. Oedipus has sets of choices all through the play, but his stubbornness and arrogance pushes him spontaneously to make incorrect decisions. These decisions eventually contribute to Oedipus’ ruin. Nonetheless, his decision portrays him as somebody who is responsible. For instance, at the last episode, Oedipus accepts responsibility for his deeds. He accepts that god hates him not only for defiling his father, but also for sleeping with his own mother in his late father’s bed. Oedipus explicitly admits defiling his mother. From oracle’s standpoint, this act is viewed as the Oedipus’ destiny, yet he readily takes responsibility. He takes the grief by himself.

Without doubt, Oedipus displays no trouble in seeing his mistakes. He says “I was wrong, so wrong” (Sophocles and David Greene 1557).  While Oedipus is accountable for his deeds, his parents should also share the blame. Laius and Jocasta, Oedipus’ parents are aware that Oedipus is cursed and also understand the nature of the curse, but they fail to kill him. Instead of killing Oedipus whiles an infant, Laius delegates the responsibility to Jocasta, his wife. Jocasta in turn delegates this responsibility to another person. Moreover, when baby Oedipus is exposed on the mountain to die by himself, the parents fail to ensure that Oedipus actually dies.

Oedipus’ bumping into Laius cannot be considered as fate.  This meeting portrays a great deal as pertains to Oedipus’ fatal flaws and character. In this eventful scene, Oedipus depicts his temper as well as his true character. Nothing coerces Oedipus to murder Laius, that is, the incident is not accidental. However, the site of the crossroad for the screenplay is symbolic of Oedipus’ free will. Oedipus has the free will to disregard the dispute, or address it with tranquility, but he chooses to lash out. The writer has used crossroad symbolically to suggest indefinite outcomes of a set of choices. The literal milieu of the crossroad is used figuratively to show that Oedipus’ life is comparable to crossroad. Oedipus can either downplay the momentous prophesy or start off fulfilling it. However, since Oedipus has impulsive temper, he chooses to fulfill the Oracle.

On his arrival at Thebes, Oedipus encounters other pairs of choices. He has to choose to become Thebes’ king and at the same time marries Jocasta, or refuse. There is no coercion for Oedipus to marry the queen, but Oedipus marries Jocasta out of his own free will. Some can argue that Oedipus choice serves as away of moving him nearer to fulfilling the oracle, but I beg to differ that fate here is not connected in any way.

Dodd has helped unravel why Oedipus acts the way he does. Although Sophocles left it for the audience to judge by themselves, I now fully understand his message through the lens of Dodd. From the first scene, Oedipus affirms that he would see to it that he does not fail (Sophocles and Greene 70), but at the middle he realizes his flaws when he says, “terrible to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees” (Sophocles and David Greene 359). In addition, towards the end, Oedipus laments, “my darkness” (1450). The use of darkness, blindness and sight, has figurative and literal meaning In Oedipus the King. Blindness can figuratively represent Oedipus arrogance and hubris the screenplay. Oedipus is arrogant and quick-tempered to the extent that he is sightless to his errors, which leads to his ruin. Sophocles has used blindness in the screenplay to give the audience the understanding about Oedipus’ flaws to be able to relate to what Oedipus does. It is Oedipus flaws that direct him to his eventual downfall.

The possibility that Oedipus' downfall is attributed to fate cannot be ruled out. Oedipus does all he can evade all the fateful prophecies about him, however, at the very end he fall the victim. Oedipus free will is within fate, and it gives him minor choices that have no significant effect on the fate. This assumption is largely not correct. While prophesies exist and must be fulfilled, they do not wreak the phenomena that result into the outcome.


Oedipus’s ruin is due to his choices. Although the oracles prophecies Oedipus ruin and actually Oedipus does fulfill it, what befalls Oedipus is purely out of free will. Out of free will, he chooses to move out of Corinth and never to come back. Likewise, Oedipus chooses to go to Thebes. He also chooses to slay Laius, as well as to marry Jocasta.

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