For centuries, the struggle between fate and the freedom of the human will has been a point of discontent among many scholars in the area of philosophy and Greek literature. In the works of men like Homer, Euripides, and Sophocles there is an emphasis on the role of prophetic beings and the inability of humans to overcome this obstacle. People are manipulated much to the delight of the gods without any hope of staving off disaster.
As seen in Sophocles' timeless tragedy Oedipus Rex, the title character appears to be a victim to his own destiny, hopelessly entangled in a web woven by superior beings. I am going to argue that despite the propensity to fall into the convenient thought that human beings are simply subject to the will of something greater that there is a definite tendency to allow for acts of free will throughout Greek literature. Since I believe Oedipus is the most complete embodiment of this struggle I will focus my analysis on his character. According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, fate is defined as "an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end". When I originally read Oedipus Rex and met the character of Oedipus for thefirst time I presumed that Sophocles believed strongly in the idea of fate or destiny.
Oedipus appeared to be incapable of avoiding the seemingly inevitable and thus became a tragic character in my eyes after I read it. To see a great man like Oedipus fall to the depths he has reached by the end of the play is truly tragic. Many see the core of the tragedy in his unavoidable demise. But what if the demise was avoidable? What if the tragedy here is that a man is so consumed by prophecies and oracles that he alters his course of action so as to avoid destruction actually enacts ruin upon himself? These are tough questions to consider so I believe it is best to go about answering them in the most logical, rational way possible. Let me begin by pointing out ..