Predestination and free will are theories that affected the minds of many throughout time. We always ask ourselves whether we make our destiny or are we born predestined. Sophocles uses oracles and the ancient Greek Gods and goddesses to explore the ideas of free will and predestination. For example, Oedipus, the protagonist of the story sends out his servants to consult with the oracle and the god Apollo when the plague struck his kingdom. The oracle stated that the plague would only end when the murderer of Laius (Oedipus's father) and the previous king of Thebes) is exiled from the land. Once Oedipus finds this out, he immediately goes on a search to discover who murdered his father. Ultimately, we conclude that Laius's murderer is really his son Oedipus. The main character Oedipus enters a conflict with himself, which develops this play. This shows us that the characters in this story believe they're in control of their destiny, but as we soon discover, the gods have predestined their actions. This leads us to wonder whether we are destined to be her, or is it just a coincidence.
Predestination can be considered dangerous because it can make even the strongest person feel helpless and not in control. As Sophocles develops his play, we see how predestination can affect one's rational mind and actions. For example, as the story continues, Oedipus finds out that his parents Laius and Jocasta, discovered that their son will eventually kill his father and sleep with his mother. As a result, Laius who is the king at the time, sends out one of his servants to kill his son Oedipus. The servant who was called upon to accomplish this duty spared the infants life. Eventually, when Oedipus grew older, he murdered his father, married his mother unknowingly and went on to be a king of Thebes. Here we observe that predestination conquers one's mind. Laius was frightened by the destiny that was placed upon him, and he tried everything he could to stop it, even killing his own child. Ultimately, we see that Laius failed in his attempt, and Oedipus's destiny came to be true. This leads us to wonder whether we live in a world in which things are predestined, or is it all a myth?
Together, predestination and free will captured reader's attention through out time. Sophocles based his play mainly on these two factors to make to world ponder even more about these supernatural possibilities. Does faith exist? Or on the other hand, do we live in a world in which we are in control of our life? Throughout this play, we observe the shift between predestination and free will many times. For example, when Oedipus was a teenager living with his stepparents whom he knew to be his biological ones, he once heard at a banquet that he was not the son of the king and queen, and so he went to consult with the Oracle. The oracle told Oedipus that he would murder his father and sleep with his mother. Hearing this, Oedipus fled from home, pleading never to return. On his journey, Oedipus was harassed by a group of travelers that he killed in self-defense. Years later, as the king of Thebes, Oedipus discovers that it was his biological father whom he killed many years ago, and now he is married to his biological mother. Here we see a combination of both predestination and free will. Even when Oedipus tried to fool faith and thought he would spare his parents life by running away, he failed. Sophocles shows his audience that predestination plays a bigger part in his characters life than we can even imagine. We see that human beings are relatively powerless before fate.
By using predestination and free will, Sophocles created one of the greatest masterpieces known. He compared these two theories, as well as combined them to uncover the impact that each one has on humanity. Ultimately, we observe that predestination conquers even the highest power. This story shows that even the most terrible disaster can happen to anyone if it was meant to be.