The Masterpiece Of Sophocles
The classical play "Oedipus Rex" is an Athenian tragedy by the famous Sophocles. The story of the play is based on Greek Mythologies. Basically it was written in Greek and later on translated in different languages. The setting of the play is Thebes. There are many characters in the play. But the story revolves around the King Oedipus family. King Laius and Queen Jocasta were the parents of King Oedipus but the irony of fate is that he is unaware of his own parentage , and not knowing that in anger whom he killed was his father, and whom he married was his biological mother.
The beginning of the play is Oedipus, is talking to Priest that why he is here, with Thebans.
http://abs.kafkas.edu.tr/upload/225/Oedipus_the_King_Full_Text.pdf. You can read the play from this link. The story is about a baby boy who was cursed by gods, as he born.
Bit Of Synopsis
The people of Thebes were suffering from plague and oedipus the king of Thebes comes out from his Palace and asks from the people that what is the cause they are here. So the priest told him that Thebens are suffering from plague. so Oedipus try to console them.
Thus, Oedipus sends his brother in law to God Apollo's Oracle for the solution of the problem they are suffering from. So he comes with the solution that on the earth of Thebes there is a polluted man who have killed the previous King Laius: by punishing that man or throwing him out from the city, plague will end From Thebes. Now on the advice of chorus Oedipus calls the prophet Teiresias who was blind, He said to Blind Prophet please put some light on the matter of the solution told by the Oracle as you know all the things by the grace of Apollo. Please tell us if you know and we think that you know about the killer of king Laius.As He was killed many years ago but now we are suffering from plague and to end this plague we have to punish that culprit. In this way Thebens will be saved. That is the reason I called you. We need your guidance.
Moreover, the blind prophet was reluctant to share the knowledge with the king. As he many times insist to Teiresias help Him because the City needs you but Teiresias denies to share the knowledge he said that it is better not to share the knowledge. Hence, you bear your burden and me mine. But somehow when King hears such things so he got Furious and he accused Teiresias that I think you are the killer of Laius that's why you are not telling the truth, by listening such comments the prophet Teiresias blows up and he reveals the truth that I am not the real culprit but you are your own enemy and you are the real Sinner. Oedipus get angry on such remarks. He charged another accuse and he said that creon his friend and brother in law has set this plot against him in the want of Throne and Teiresias is involved with him.
On this node Tiresias reveals the truth that the killer of king Laius is just here before him , the killer of his father and a man who is in sinful marriage and who came seeing but will leave blind but nobody pays attention on his words. But afterwards in the end truth reveals.
That's it , but if you are curious and i guess you are so Buddy I am not going to complete the story you have to read the play. My work is done. Now let's Move towards the Key thing of this article:
Oedipus's tragedy results from his actions or it is the outcome of his pre-determined fate? So many times it is discussed and will be ! . Because for literature Lovers , and students it is like declamation on self defense, feminism, hypocrisy and other hot topics. First of all , I will begin my point with the question.
"What is fate?" The development of events which human can not control, or predetermined events by God. While free will is the ability to take decisions; by your own choice. The play "Oedipus Rex" , is one of Sophocles’ remarkable works, where free will plays an important role in the play. According to my opinion, I personally believe that free will is there throughout the full play. I do have a strong belief in fate, but unfortunately I believe in free will more. Everything was done by Oedipus's own free will. His hamartia, character defect, or flaw, that brings his downfall as a tragic hero. In the case of Oedipus, his hamartia, are his excessive pride, hastiness, and anger; his ultimate downfall comes with a series of unfortunate misjudgments that are made as he continuously aims to do the right things.
Further, free will comes in the play with the example when Creon tells Oedipus the words of god Apollo, according to the oracle. But before sharing the oracles word he asked to Oedipus the king “I will tell you. If you wish me to speak in the presence of all. If not, let us go in. The king replies "Speak before all. Their plight concerns me now, more than my life". Creon did not want to speak in front of the Thebans; it was Oedipus who made him to do so. Because Creon the brother in law knew, it would be better to go inside the Palace. The beginning of the problem starts with King's this decision. Because confidential and government matters should be resolved with privacy, and that would be called act of wisdom. While, King did in contrast to this. It was his choice to reveal the truth in front of the public.
Moreover, it was also his choice, to leave the Corinth. Just because of a drunk man, who insulted him, by saying he is not King Polybus son. Then he went home and inquired about the stranger's comment to Polybus. But Polybus denied the rumor. Somehow rumor spread in the Corinth. So he made a decision, to go to oracle, and know about his parentage. It was all his choice. Ironically, he trusts stranger, rather than his parents. What happened after that was terrible. "So, without my parents knowledge, I went to Pytho; But came back disappointed of any answer to the question I asked, having heard instead a tale of horror and misery : how I must marry my mother and become the parent of a misbegotten brood, an offence to all mankind - and kill my father" . For instance let thought of polybus remained silent, on strangers talk. Then we could say it was justified, that he went to Python. And, in the result leaves the Corinth. But nothing happened like that. Poor, Oedipus proved his own enemy.
Next, when he leaves the Corinth, he was furious. By a coincidence he met Laius at the cross-roads and a fight took place. In pride and furious he killed four people! And do not repent, even. He even did not remember, he murdered four innocent people in anger. Until Queen Jocasta tells him that King Laius was killed where three roads meet. Then he memorize that he also killed four persons, at the same place. Is this was his fate, no, not at all; it was all his free will.
“This is the truth. When I came to the place where three roads join, I met A herald followed by a horse-drawn carriage, and a man seated therein, just as you have described. The leader roughly ordered me out of the way; and his venerable master joined in with a surly command. It was the driver that thrust me aside, and him I struck, for i was angry. The old man saw it, leaning from the carriage, waited until I passed, then, seizing for weapon. The driver's two-pronged goad, struck me on the head. Did it’s work; he tumbled headlong out of the carriage, and every man of them there i killed
In addition, Oedipus on various occasions appears to be intelligent, determined, self-reliant but hot-tempered and too sure of him. He was the one who solved the riddle of the Sphinx. But though Intelligent he was blind enough to marry a woman old enough to be his mother, all the time feeling sure that his mother was in Corinth. Even after knowing the oracle's prophecy. Whatever happens is the natural result of the weaknesses and the virtues of his character.
As I have said, he is not a wise man. Because, he cannot keep the confidential matters in secrecy. So happening the next, it’s not a mistake, it's a error. As Polybus messenger arrives with news that, King Polybus is dead because of sickness. So Corinth needs a King, as Oedipus is Polypus' son, he have to rule. But Oedipus thinks that he is not safe unless Queen Merope is alive. Messenger asks how her life endangers yours. As usual, he starts in front of a stranger.
Oedipus: “we have an Oracle, sir, of deadly tenor".
Messenger: “Is it one that may rightly be uttered to a stranger?”
Messenger is wiser than Oedipus, but Oedipus do not have the sense of responsibility. He tells whole story, and in the end suffer, from prosperity to adversity because of tragic flaw.
Next, in which Jocasta demands that Oedipus stop searching for his parents. Jocasta says sternly to Oedipus, “Stop! In the name of god, if you love your own life, call off this search! My suffering is enough...I Know I am right. I am warning you for your good”. Oedipus does not have keep the search going, but he uses his free choice to look despite what his wife/mother ask of him. He is not forced to search for the truth, he makes a decision to. Every time it’s not good to know the truth, sometimes, ignorance is bliss. It is better to remain unaware or ignorant of things that may otherwise cause one stress; if you don't know about something, you don't need to worry about it. The expression comes from poem with Thomas Gray, "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College," from 1742: "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise" . But Oedipus did not listens, and continue his search for truth. "Born thus, I ask to be no other man. Than that I am, and will know who I am”. But In the end, he cries on the revelation of that truth.
"Alas! All out! All known, no more concealment! O Light May I never look on you again. Revealed as I am, sinful in my begetting, sinful in marriage, sinful in shedding of blood! "
He stabs his eyes out. No one forced him to stab his eyes out. For example, if one kills themselves that is all their doing. No one can make somebody do the actual act of killing themselves. It would be that person’s decision to take a rope and hang themselves or grab a knife and slit their own throat. Having a complete melt down, Oedipus says, “You, you’ll see no more the pain I suffered, all the pain I caused! Too long you looked on the ones you never should have seen; blind to the ones you longed to see, to know! Blind from this hour on! Blind in the darkness, blind!” Oedipus decides to stab his eyes out because he cannot accept the fact that he married his mother and killed his father. The fact that Jocasta hung herself made Oedipus even more distraught about finding out the truth. Oedipus plus his wife/mother Jocasta act on their own free will. Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus stabs his eyes out.
As I mentioned, in my judgment, I believe that free will is throughout the entire play. I truly regard as true that a lot of the misfortune in the story could have been keep off, if Oedipus was able to accept the fact that things go inexact. When i was reading this play I noticed that if I find out something that bothers me about my time on earth, I will try my best to swallow it and live in peace with reality. I literally think that Oedipus's tragedy results from his deeds and it is not the result of his pre-determined fate. As Oedipus said:
"Apollo, friends, Apollo
Has laid this agony upon me; not by his hand; I did it. "
And Oedipus then said " On me is the curse that none but I have laid” .