In Oedipus The King, Sophocles invites readers to question if we control our fate or does fate controls us using Oedipus’s life.
When Oedipus was a prince in Cornith, he was told by prophecies from the gods that he would kill his father and marry his mother one day. (P.216) “Apollo told me once – it is my fate – I must make love with my own mother, shed my father’s blood with my own hands.” Thus, Oedipus tries to avoid the prophecy by leaving Cornith to move to another city named Thebes. But on his way to Thebes, Oedipus suddenly raged and killed a herald and a bunch of men. (P.206) Oedipus – “I killed them all every mother’s son.” Oedipus ended up being the king of Thebes, and from the later part of the play, we know that all prophecies did happen.
After reading this play, I often question if it is Oedipus’ fault for causing these tragic events to him or it is his destiny. From the background story, we know Oedipus wanted to go to Thebes because of the prophecies. He solved the riddle and became the king (P.182) “With no help from the birds, the flight of my intelligence hit the mark.” so was Oedipus actually intelligent or was it just his fate? Besides that, it is Oedipus’ destiny because he still killed his father and married his mother despite his parents and trying to avoid the prophecies by killing him. (P.208) “my son, poor defenceless thing, he never had a chance to kill his father. They destroyed him first.”
I believe or would like to believe that we can control our own fate, but from the play, Oedipus has no control over his own life and destiny even though he tried to avoid it.