Oedipus the King Matt Smith Midterm paper 10/8/00 Oedipus the King: A tragedy of fate By definition a tragedy satisfies the moral sense, it brings forth pity or fear and it tells a story of misfortune by reversal of situation, all of which are fulfilled by Sophocles Oedipus the King. This being said, I will argue that this play is actually a tragedy of fate: its tragic effect depends on the conflict between the all-powerful will of the gods and the vain efforts of human beings threatened with disaster. In tracing the events throughout Sophocles play it becomes evident that the will of the gods wins out, causing the collapse of Oedipus, his land and the people of Thebes. Being a leader of high stature and having won acclaim as the savior of Thebes, Oedipus was well regarded by the Thebian people; however with all of his worldly accomplishments and high standing, he could not overcome the destiny prescribed to him by Apollo, at Delphi. In order to call Oedipus the King a tragedy of fate we have the burden of proving that the tragedy does not develop from acts of free will, but rather are unavoidable events of chance. We must show that Oedipus journey to the oracle indeed sealed his fate and though try as he may the will of the gods is all to powerful for any human to overcome. This I will argue is the very essence of the tragedy, the fact that no matter how great of a man Oedipus has become and no matter his earthly power he, or no other human could vary the life in which he is destined to live. This predestination or this curse, if you will, that Oedipus would lie with (his) mother and beget children mens eyes would not bear the sight of and to be the killer of the father that gave (him) life (Sophocles pg 56) gives meaning to the play and allows irony to unfold into a tragic tale of misfortune and the ultimate reversal of situation. After Apollo foretold …
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