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The gods proclaimed a debase fate for Oedipus. Instead of being amenable to the gods, Oedipus repeatedly attempts to avoid his fate. Although it seems like Oedipus disobeys the gods, he actually says many things which prove otherwise. When his city begins to suffer from drought, famine and plagues, Oedipus relies on the oracle for a solution. To his subjects he declares, So with the help of God, we shall be savedor else indeed we are lost (Sophocles 113). This shows his complete faith in the gods and their decisions. When the oracle reveals that the murderer of King Laius is to blame for all of the suffering, Oedipus once again declares his trust in the gods.
The Delphic voice of Zeus has pronounced this revelation. Thus I associate myself with the oracle and take the side of the murdered king (316). By doing so Oedipus is confirming his relationship with the gods. Even though Oedipus speaks about his faith in the gods, in the past he took action against their wishes. Oedipus fled his homeland in fear of fulfilling the prophesy which asserted that he would murder his father and sleep with his mother. By trying to evade the prophesy he is directly disobeying the gods. After hearing that his father died peacefully, Oedipus believes that he has succeeded in dodging his fate.
He even boasts about his accomplishment. Why should a man respect the Pythian hearth, or give heed to the birds that jangle above his head? They prophesied that I would kill Polybusbut he is dead and buriedPolybus has packed the oracles off with him underground. (Prophesies) Are empty words (344). Through his past actions and these words Oedipus is debasing the authority and power of the gods. Despite the fact that Oedipus did try to avoid his fate, he eventually succumbs to it, and therefore he obeys the gods. After discovering that he did fulfill the prophesy Oedipus acknowledges that attempting to evade his fate was desperate and futile. He now somberly understands that escaping ones destiny is impossible.
He sadly accepts his fate and tells Creon, Let me dieas they willed I shouldI have been preserved for some unthinkable fate. But let that be (364). By saying this Oedipus reveals that his rebellious spirit has been broken, that he is now ready to let the gods guide him to his end. Oedipus even goes beyond waiting for death by gouging his eyes out. This shows that he is ready for whatever the gods have planned for him. Oedipus endurance of pain and his willingness to suffer deepens the bond between him and the gods. However, Oedipus claims that his actions were really self administered and not controlled by the gods. Oedipus realizes that because he chose to leave Corinth, he willingly left his sanctuary and actually walked right into his detestable fate. At his moment of cognizance Oedipus exclaims, Corinth, city that I believed the ancient seat of my ancestors: how fair I seemed, your child! And all the while this evil was cancerous inside me! (362).
Saying it was inside him implies that his fate was self inflicted and not chosen by the gods. Another example of his selfishness is when Oedipus gouges his eyes out, The blinding hand was my own! How could I bear to see when all my sight was horror everywhere? (360) If Oedipus was obedient to the gods he would have hurt himself as a sacrifice to the gods, but instead he does it to escape the evil that he has seen. Ultimately Oedipus is a man who focuses on himself, and is not interested in obeying the gods. Bibliography: The Oedupis Plays of Sophocles..
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