Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex is a tragedy based on Athenian thought, and it is one of three Theban plays that have survived and depict Oedipus’ fate. Oedipus is the King of Thebes, unaware that his throne is the fulfillment of a prophecy that occurred without his knowledge. He married Jocasta, the former wife of King Louis, unaware that she was his biological mother. Since they were not only King and Queen of Thebes, but they had also slept together, the tragedy ends with both characters feeling guilty and ashamed about what had happened. The tragedy by Sophocles is a play that inherently creates a clash between knowledge and fate where destiny cannot be altered and explores it in a way that shows that the human fate is defined by their instincts and the information they gather all along.
When Oedipus sets out to determine his father’s killer, he confronts many people and among them is Tiresias. Tiresias is a blind soothsayer of the land and who role is to provide information to the king that he is the killer that he is looking for. It demonstrates that in the process of pursuing the truth, Oedipus gets biased in the way he perceives information unaware that the knowledge other people were imparting on him was critical for his understanding of the issue at hand. Teiresias says, “I have no more to say; storm as thou willst, And give the rein to all thy pent-up rage” (Sophocles 347). The fact that Oedipus fails to believe in Tiresias shows the human fate tends to be defined by the ignorance that they show to knowledge. It is ironical that Oedipus was looking for information while at the same time taking only those that he believed were true. In the end, Teiresias explains that regardless of what he says or does, the eventual outcome used to denote fate will come out in itself. It shows that regardless of the manner in which the human mind is made to be ignorant, the truth is often evident in the end.
The other major correlation that the reader is able to establish from the reading is that when knowledge is truthful and made in a confident manner, then fate is justified. The greatest challenge that Oedipus faces is that he does not believe many of the stories that he I told initially. The person he doubts most is Teiresias who explains to him that he is the person he is trying to look for in the desire to get who killed his father. The information, which would be descried to constitute knowledge in this context is, however, received with doubt unaware of the fact that it is the destined fate. Teiresias seems to be so certain of the fact that thee prophecy was described by fate and that the knowledge she had about the King was correct. Meanwhile, Oedipus wavers in his will and does not believe a thing that is said. Teiresias says, “I go, but first will tell thee why I came. Thy frown I dread not, for thou canst not harm me. Hear then: this man whom thou hast sought to arrest. With threats and warrants this long while, the wretch. Who murdered Laius–that man is here” (Sophocles 461). It shows that while Oedipus was frowning and not beleiveing the fact that the information was backed up by a definite impending fate created certainty. The relevance of the information to the reader is that it describes how human fate is assured when the knowledge and information is correct and certain.
Jocasta’s experience in the book is also a depiction of the fact that the human fate and knowledge are proportional so that one compounds the other. Jocasta is a woman who does not believe in the prophecies and cites several cases where she believes that she is right about her fate. She does not trust that the prophesies are true and in the process she embodies a human character of doubt from a free-thinker’s perspective. According to Jocasta, her knowledge about the prophecy is that they are wrong based on the past experiences where they turned not to be true. She says, “Such was the prophet’s horoscope. O king. Regard it not. Whate’er the god deems fit. To search, himself unaided will reveal” (Sophocles 725). Teiresias is the prophet in this case of whom the level of trust is low because of the fact that his prophesies did not get fulfilled previously. It shows how the human fate can be determined by modernistic thinking because Jocasta seems not bee believe in traditional and prophetic issues possibly because she is the Queen, a high social status positon in the land. It is appropriate because the author then relates the fact that provided the knowledge is correct, even those who are supposedly of lower social status deserve a voice. The significance of how Jocasta feels is perceived in the context of how human fate is constant regardless of whether it comes from a high-social status individual or a lower-status character.
It is also worth noting that the subject of fate and knowledge are relevant in the case of Oedipus and Jocasta who believe that by being the noble family they could alter fate. It appears that the King and Queen think of themselves as wise and knowledgeable enough that when they receive information that appears to affect their future happiness, they try to alter it. The two end up letting out their son for the dead after he was taken away from the King Laius house and left in the mountains. The truth is that from their conception of the issues at stake Jocasta and King Louis think that it is possible to change fate, but in truth, it is not likely that one will succeed. On a similar note, Oedipus also thinks that he has the capability of using the knowledge he had received about the fate of Thebes to change it. Oedipus seeks out the advice of Creon to consult Apollo on how the curse that had befallen Thebes could be uplifted. By virtue of his being the king, Oedipus also thinks that he has the power to change the destiny of the people in Thebes with the information he had obtained. He does this in spite of the fact that his mother and wife Jocasta has persistently tried to convince him not to dig into the past further.
When both Oedipus and Jocasta start getting close to the truth about who killed Laius, the tragedy ends up in a situation where both characters want to exonerate themselves but the truth was becoming apparent. Oedipus tries to deny accusations when he says, “The serpent stealing on me in the dark, or else too weak to scotch it when I saw. This _thou_ art witless seeking to possess. Without a following or friends the crown, A prize that followers and wealth must win” (Sophocles 545). His status plays a huge role in trying to deny the truth even though he could not change it. The only challenge that existed was trying to relate how the fate of King Laius happened considering that Jocasta was told that he was murdered by strangers while Oedipus knows that he was alone when he killed his father. The impression is that of a tragedy where the characters stubbornly deny the truth from the information that they have but are unable to run away from fate because the prophecy had to be fulfilled.
From the analysis, it is noted that the relationship between knowledge and fate is founded on the basis that the latter justifies the former and that regardless of how knowledgeable one is, the cannot change their fate. Jocasta, Oedipus, Laius and Teiresias are the major characters to draw relevance into the link between the two themes as they are oblivious that provided the information is correct fate is assured. The understanding of the themes is especially indicating of how that the human fate is predestined to happen regardless of how one tries to change it as Jocasta did. Overall, the play is appropriate for the reader as it enables them to ponder on how they have tried changing what is not possible to change to suit their interests.
Sophocles. Oedipus The King. Some Good Press, 2015. Print.