Oedipus And The Gods
The principles of the gods and fate were developed to discuss things. In Ancient Greece there was a lot that was not understood; science was in its infancy and everything that happened could be discussed by the will of the gods or fate. The gods were the height of power; they allegedly existed considering that the beginning of time. They were never-ceasing, universal and supreme. However, the various gods had different personalities. In this sense they were anthropomorphic. Having such mastery of the world would enable them to manage guy’s behavior, as is shown in King Oedipus.
The concept of fate has existed for a long period of time and exists even today. Fate focuses on the concept that people’s lives are predetermined and that no matter what is done it can not be altered. With the gods it was utilized to explain occasions that seemed odd. Sophocles expands on this concept by presenting Oedipus’ fate. The thought of fate is strong considering no matter how hard he struggles he still receives what was predetermined. As a baby he survived the components on Mount Cithaeron. As Oedipus was destined to live, it shows the dominance of fate.
Having fate play such a large part of the play is certainly an insight into the Greek’s concept that fate manages us no matter how hard we struggle against it. In the play the dominance of the gods is shown again and once again. In the 2nd stasimon after Tiresias leaves the chorus chants “Zeus and Apollo know, they understand, the great masters of all the dark and depth of human life”, reasserting the belief in the god’s power.
At the really opening of the play, the priest who converses with Oedipus states “… You can not equate to the gods, your children know that …, showing once again the Greek belief that the gods are the height of power. Nevertheless, it is not only the people that revere the gods. After Oedipus blinds himself, Creon takes control of Thebes. When Oedipus asks to be gotten rid of, Creon replies “Not I. Just the gods can offer you that”, again acknowledging the greater authority of the gods. Thee various reference of the gods restates their importance in the eyes of Ancient Greek society. In the play the characters show fantastic regard for the gods. Before the play’s beginning, Oedipus goes to Apollo’s oracle at Delphi.
There he is told the prophecy of him killing his daddy and marrying his mom. In any other case this statement would appear ridiculous, not worrying Oedipus in the slightest. However, the words came from the gods. Oedipus was so surprised by this prognostication that he ran away from what he believed was him home, resulting in the chain of occasions that lead to his downfall. Oedipus’ response to the prophecy he received is another indicator of the power of the gods and their words. Not just does the play show that the gods remain in control, it reveals that man is not in control.
The play’s last words are “count no male delighted till he takes his joy with him to the grave”. This is plainly trying to suggest that one can never say that he/she is happy because by doing so they are accidentally stating that they are in control. This can never hold true as man can not manage whatever. This message is simply as true today as it was two thousand years earlier in Sophocles’ time. By showing that guy is not in control, the play is recommending other forces manage guy’s destiny, such as fate and the gods. Throughout the entire play the value of guy not controlling his own fate is emphasised.
An oracle predicted that any kid that Laius and Jocasta had would eliminate his father and wed his mother. Jocasta and Laius attempt to manage their fate by ruining the child by giving it to a shepherd to leave on Mount Cithaeron. The baby lived in spite of the chances, declares the power of fate and simultaneously showing that Laius and Jocasta are not in control. When Oedipus became aware of his destiny, he attempted to prevent it by running. Ironically, when he believes he is running from his fate he is actually going to it, again proving fate’s power. Oedipus states in the play “I am content”, indicating that he believes he is in command of his life.
Nevertheless, the gods and fate prove him wrong by giving him the worst of fates, once again re-emphasising how little control guy has over his life. The style of people believing they are in control is continuously being shown and after that negated, again showing the importance of this idea in Ancient Greek society. All throughout the play, defying the gods establishes a downfall. The Greeks thought their gods had human qualities. When a guy challenges the gods, as is done numerous times in King Oedipus, the gods, having characters, use their power to “put him back in his place”.
One sound example of this is in the story of Arachne the weaver and Athene, god of knowledge. Arachne was so proficient at weaving that she challenged the god Athene to a contest. When Athene won, she turned Arachne into a spider to invest eternity weaving and being ruined by man as punishment for her brashness. This is an example of gods punishing man for challenging the gods, an action that is duplicated in King Oedipus. Prior to the play begins, Jocasta and Laius have a kid completely knowledge that they are going against the will of the gods. As formerly specified, the gods having human qualities are accountable to punish this habits.
At the start of the third stasimon, Jocasta asks the gods to help Oedipus. When the messenger gets here and tells of the death of Polybus instead of thanking the gods for aid she says “A fig for divination”. This is a prime example of disrespecting the gods. Later on in the play, both Laius and Jocasta were duly penalized. Here is proof of the one of the Greek theories, that contempt for the gods leads to being undone. It is clear that a breach in the god’s supremacy resulted in the Laius and Jocasta being “taught a lesson”. Laius receives death by the hand by his own child.
Strangely, this is one of the lighter penalties. This end is ironic and vicious due to the fact that a child is supposed to appreciate his father and instead he winds up eliminating him. Also, as the possibilities of eliminating somebody who happens to be their dad are relatively slim, it shows that fate is also in play. Jocasta is forced to live with the discomfort of knowing she slept with her kid, which in impact led her to suicide. There may also be some grief from the motherly instinct and understanding her son is also suffering immeasurable sorrow. While not as physically uncomfortable as Laius’ death, the psychological discomfort would be intolerable, as revealed by Jocasta’s suicide.
Again, like Laius, the possibilities of these occasions happening naturally are so little that it ends up being almost impossible to ignore the factor of magnificent intervention. Both of these terrible fates were an outcome of defying the gods and fate, again highlighting the truth that going against the gods leads to tragedy. Another character who angers the gods is Oedipus. This starts prior to the play when he attempted to range from his fortune. Trying to get away signifies tough fate’s authority, which according to Greek belief results in punishment.
Again he confronts the gods with his encounter with Tiresias. Firstly, he ignores what he states. Considered that Tiresias’ words are the voice of the gods, this means he is indirectly defying the gods. Second of all, Oedipus quickly forms the assumption that Creon is outlining versus him based on unsteady reasoning. By concerning this conclusion Oedipus is overlooking essential evidence, proof that he believes himself above other males and comparing himself to the gods. Once again Greek beliefs specify no male can be on the same level as the gods. So again he is exposing himself to destruction by the gods.
In the words of Tiresias “Creon is not your downfall, you are your own”, which summarizes the consequences of his fast conclusions. Tiresias highlights the worst in Oedipus, being his hubris, or thinking one is greater than they actually are. For instance, Oedipus says, “I stopped the Sphinx”, acknowledging no one however himself. He has not considered that the gods are in control of all things and for that reason must have helped him beat the Sphinx. By overlooking their assistance, he is once again saying he is on their level; another example of hubris. This yet once again shows Oedipus disputing the god’s powers.
After the messenger delivers the news of Polybus’ death, Oedipus exclaims “But now, all those prophecies I feared … They’re nothing, worthless”. Predictions are sacred in the sense that they came from the gods who are stated to be almighty. In no clearer method could Oedipus conflict the words of the gods. Disputing the words of the gods is in impact disputing the god’s control itself, which inevitably lead him to suffer the most terrible of ends. Revealed here are various examples of how Oedipus challenges the god’s control, which in effect lead to his awful penalty.
Of all the suffering in the play, Oedipus without a doubt bears the most discomfort. Physically, there is the suffering of gouging his eyes out along with the blindness that follows. With the loss of sight comes the embarrassment. However, all this physical discomfort was self-inflicted in the belief that he might never ever be punished enough for his criminal offenses. This is also accompanied by fierce emotional torture. First of all there is the anguish of knowing he killed his own daddy. This, as discussed, is ironic as he ought to appreciate his dad but in real truth ends up killing him. Naturally, this would lead to excellent suffering.
Secondly, he slept with his mom. This kind of habits was taboo in their society. Together with this is the sheer disgust in knowing that his bros were his boys, his siblings were his children and his partner was his mother. Obviously, Oedipus has undergone severe discomfort and suffering by the god’s will. Also there is the reality of understanding that his mother is suffering awful pain. Again, this would trigger Oedipus significant pain. As a big part of the last stasimon describes, another method which Oedipus is pained remains in knowing that his children will suffer.
Residing in a patriarchal society, they would need to marry a male in order for them to live a reasonable life. Nevertheless, he understands that guys would not desire his daughters, considering their background. Again understanding his children will suffer problems him. Oedipus quotes “… who will he be, my darlings? Running the risk of all to carry the curse that weighs down my parents … “, showing that he concerned about their future. Oedipus experiences fantastic sorrow when he recalls and understands just how much he has fallen from his former mighty perch of power.
This would be once again painful in seeing how excellent he used to be compared to the wreck he is by the end of the play. In Oedipus’ words, “The blackest things a male can do, I have actually done them all! “, summing up the extremity of his pain. All of this goes to show that the gods indeed remain in control in accordance with the Greek belief. As revealed prior to, Oedipus tries to compare himself to the gods in power numerous times. Utilizing the Greek belief that the gods and fate are in control of guy, Oedipus comparing himself to the gods is in result challenging them since no male can be on the exact same level as the gods.
As an outcome he is punished in such a way that is more serious than even death. It appears that there are gods at work in engineering this most terrible abuse. Again this is evidence that challenging the gods and fate establishes for a fall, as shown by the outermost decline in Oedipus. It is clearly obvious from this wide variety of proof Greeks believed that the gods and fate are in control of guy’s fate, their lives being “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Shakespeare, Macbeth) and also that facing their authority leads to an undoing, displayed in “what mortals dream, the gods irritate” (Euripides, Medea).
Time and time once again this message is re-emphasised through plot and character. We as the audience receive these ideas clearly and constantly, revealing that male is not in control of his future, as shown by the awful downfall of Oedipus, delivering a message as crucial now as in the days of the Ancient Greeks.