Fate and free will both play an integral role in Oedipus' life. In Oedipus, Sophocles highlights the old Greek notion that fate can't be escaped even though a man has freewill and choice. Despites a man free will it is fate that will eventually prevail. But was Oedipus a sufferer of an inescapable fate or does he create his own destiny through his free will?
Oedipus exactly like Laius and Jocasta will try to escape his fate by acting on his freewill. Laius had tried to escape his fate by wanting to kill the kid who was meant to wipe out him, but does not succeed. Oedipus too attempts to flee his fate by running away from Corinth after he was informed of the oracle having said that he's to "partner" his own mom and "murder" the father who provided him life. Afraid and of course believing the oracle he works away in order to flee it. But in so doing, he is unaware that he has actually considered a step nearer to his own devastation. This is proven when on his way to his new life, he unknowingly kills his own dad Laius and fulfills an integral part of the oracle. He then goes on and takes over Thebes and marries his own mom and hence fulfills the first oracle. However, Laius and Jocasta acquired a chance which Oedipus didn't. These were given a caution expressing that they should not produce a child. But Laius was defeat by the momentary lust (Oedipus Tyrannus notes- Pg 90) and so left his boy to face the result of his action.
Jocasta and Laius can be seen as a perfect evidence of freewill. It had been their choice of action that led to their future. Their fate was never certain. These were given a caution but disregarded it and went against god's will. Their selection of action demonstrates it was freewill that created their destiny. However, we can also say it was their destiny because the alert itself had stated their fate. In addition, they get their abuse for going against god; Laius is killed by his own child and Jocasta marries not only her own child but also the murderer of her hubby. The play implies that the gods are in control, and not men (www. slashdoc. com). Furthermore, the play may also be considered the fate of Laius and Jocasta since they were the main one who dismissed the oracle and made a blunder. Oedipus just feels like someone guiding them to their destiny. Their ill-fate was the abuse for preventing the warning and functioning on their freewill. So, therefore, we can also say that Oedipus was simply a victim of his parents curse, "the curse of your mother and father, a double blow" (pg 33 Line -417).
At the beginning of the play, when there's a plague in Thebes, our company is advised about the new oracle from Creon. He coveys the oracle that to be able to get rid of the plague, the murderer of Laius must be found. Here we can say that it is his freewill that's creating his future because Oedipus could have waited for the plague to end and not send Creon to seek help from Apollo, but he will. This shows him behaving with freewill and shows that man is reliable of his own activities. However, on the other hands, we can also say it is fate because it was designed to happen. There were two things he could did; one was to hold back for the plague to get rid of and the other to send Creon to seek help from Apollo. But he goes for the one that leads him to his destruction. So we can say that it's fate and is taking him towards his downfall. He will exactly what a good ruler should have done but doesn't recognize that he is forcing himself closer to his downfall. Also, after he learns of the oracle, he may have sought out the murderer slowly but surely and quietly but he curses the murderer which in actuality is him cursing himself, " I also pray that unknown doer of the deed, whether he acted together or with accomplices, may degrade his wretched life in abstract misery"(pg 23 Lines 246-278). This symbolizes that freewill is just a street to one's fate.
The "agon" between Oedipus and Tiresias brings about a lot of Oedipus's defects. His harmatia include arrogance, violence, take great pride in and his quest for truth. On this scene Tiresias constantly warns Oedipus not to ask more, but Oedipus does indeed. The picture creates a lot of stress and Tiresias foretells a whole lot "Now you see clearly but you will notice darkness" (Pg 33 range -419). But Oedipus will not pay any heed to the and mocks Tiresias blindness. We can also say that Oedipus's harmatia led and contributed greatly to his downfall. Even after experiencing a lot, he is still ignorant and is also committed to find the murderer. Here too he might well have quit his enquiry and preserved himself but he doesn't and thinks he's doing the right thing but has no notion of what waits for him. Consequently, he continues driving himself onward.
Jocasta attempts to relax Oedipus down by revealing him that "no one who is mortal gets the ability of prophecy" (pg53 lines-788-789). She also has an evidence for this by informing him of the old oracle and contributes that Laius was not wiped out by his own kid but by robbers and as for the child that they had thrown him away along with his ankles pinned alongside one another. And for the first time realization visits Oedipus, and he cries, "Oh. What a wretched I am! It seems I have revealed myself to a terrible curse, without knowing it. "(pg 55 lines 744-745). But Jocasta assures him that Laius was killed by robbers rather than a single man. Even after knowing very much Oedipus continues to be persistent in finding the whole real truth. He now waits for the shepherd who had witnessed Laius murder and calls him he's only "grounds for desire" (pg 61 lines836). But in actuality the shepherd is the main one who opens the gate to his ill-fate. The chorus then, in the next STASIMON reminds us that the regulations of the land is in the god's palm and not men "The regulations prescribed for they are sublime, and received their delivery in the clear air of heaven, Olympus" (pg 65 lines 865-867).
While they are simply looking forward to the servant, a messenger comes by and informs that Polybus is useless and later contributes that Polybus was not Oedipus's father "Polybus was no relationship of your" (pg 75 collection-1016). Just then Jocasta realizes that the oracle has come true, and begs Oedipus to avoid his search. But as always Oedipus doesn't listen and misunderstands Jocasta. Jocasta leaves dialling him an "unhappy man". The herdsman then makes the scene and at first refuses to inform the reality. Like Tiresias and Jocasta, he too warns him to stop but Oedipus doesn't. The herdsman then confirms Oedipus's identification (that he's Laius' child) and so breaks the shield that had been there till given that had placed Oedipus from his ill fate. Having recognized what he did, Oedipus cries "Oh, oh! The complete truth has turn out. Light may this be the last time I check out you" (pg 8 lines 1182- 1123). The chorus then displays on the illusionary qualities of man's delight and the futility of mortal life. Even a person who came out so pre-eminently successful as Oedipus shows this by dropping victim to horrible fighting. (pg 86 records). Were then informed about Jocasta's fatality. Jocasta suicide is solely freewill since her destiny was never to perish but to marry her child. So her decision to pass away was not her fate but her choice; her freewill.
At the finish of the play, Oedipus blinds himself so when the chorus asks him what experienced made him do this, he replies, "Apollo, it was Apollo, my friends" (pg 97 lines 1328). "But the hand that struck them was mine" (pg 97 collection-1331). He now knows his destiny and calls for responsibility for his activities and it is guilty for killing his father and marrying his mother.
Even though we realize that Oedipus killed his daddy and committed his mom, we as an audience feel pity for him because he didn't do anything deliberately. The characters in the play were not fully accountable for their actions. Inside the play, fate and freewill both proved helpful mutually towards Oedipus destruction. Every action he got, lead him to nearer to his devastation. Thus we can conclude that freewill is just a road that brings about one's destination. In the long run all the oracles are proven right which is proved that fate is inescapable and humans are managed by god and despites a man's freewill, it is fate that prevails.