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Steven Truong Period 5 Ms. Hollingsworth November 14th, 2011

Injustice of Destiny and Life: Based on the Tragedy of Oedipus

Can life be unfair? According to Oedipus Rex, a tragic play by Sophocles, life can be unfair as ones fate may be caused by interfering forces- as Oedipuss fate was shaped by his parents and other characters with connections to Oedipuss life. Due to the interference by the outside forces, Oedipus did not deserve his fate since he did not have knowledge, wanted the greater good for Thebes, and had a tragic fate that was the product of the actions of other characters. Knowledge is a factor that determines the actions that one commits throughout life. Oedipuss lack of knowledge about his past is a reason why he killed his father and slept with his mother; since he did not know who they were when he committed the actions. From the tragedy, it is evident that: without knowledge on given situations, actions that would not be committed if there was knowledge on the situation, are committed. Therefore, due to the ignorance that caused him to commit atrocities, Oedipus is sympathized for due to his lack of knowledge during committing his acts. Oedipuss situation can be compared to an unprepared student taking a testwhere the student experiences the role of Oedipus as the student does not have knowledge about the test and takes it; and finds that he/she scored poorly- though the poor score is attributed to the lack of knowledge. Therefore, due to his ignorance of Laius and Iocaste being his parents, Oedipus is sympathized for because the audience understands how Oedipus would not have committed the crimes if he had known that Iocaste and Laius were his parents. As a result,

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Oedipus did not deserve his fate as he did not have knowledge on his life- which caused him to commit actions that he would not have committed if he had the knowledge of who he was. Oedipus also did not deserve his fate as he only wanted the greater good for Thebes. The Theban king selflessly devoted his time and effort in order to save Thebes from both the Sphinx and the plague. Due to his ambition to do good for people, Oedipus only led himself to demise. Oedipuss backfire on himself is sympathized for since his intentions were to save Thebes, thus showing how the king did not deserve his tragic fate because he had a good intention that would lead to his doom. The tragic fate of the Theban king can be analyzed as a trap made by fate for Oedipus to fall into. Due to the trap set by fate, Oedipuss life is unfair since his will was for Thebes to benefit, though in the end, he would be trapped by his good intentions. Therefore, since his fate and tragedy was the product of his good and right intention, Oedipus did not deserve his tragic ending. Finally, Oedipus did not deserve his fate as his fate was interfered with and caused by the actions of other characters, primarily his parents. Both Laius and Iocastes intention to kill Oedipus as a child would shape Oedipuss life as he would never know who his true parents were and thus commit atrocities against his parents as he had no knowledge nor control over the situation. Furthermore, Oedipuss rescue from his plotted death would also prove to be a cause of his later tragedy because if Oedipus died, he would not have experienced his miserable fate. Due to the outside forces that would ruin Oedipuss life and shape his destiny, sympathy is felt for Oedipus since it was not his free will that caused his demise, but the will of the other characters involved in Oedipuss life. Therefore, in the end, Oedipus did not deserve to have such a tragic fate since his destiny and life would be strongly influenced from the start of his life by characters with relations to Oedipus.

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Oedipus Rex by Sophocles shows how the statement life is unfair is valid through the tragic and unfortunate fate of Oedipus. The fate that Oedipus lived was not deserved as he is a sympathetic character as he was ignorant when committing his actions, selflessly devoted himself to betterment of Thebes, and has a life that was shaped by the actions of other characters. All in all, Oedipus is sympathized for due to his harsh fate that he did not deserve emphasizing that life can be unfair.