Oedipus the King is a play with Oedipus as the protagonist. The story is developed under the settings of Thebes and Corinth communities. In the novel, the plot develops when King Laius is the king of Thebes. During his reign, Laios defiles a female subject (Chrysippus), who decides to take away her life because of shame. This inhuman act seals the fate of King Laius. Through a fortuneteller in the community, King Laius learns he and his descendants are cursed members of this community. He also learns that his death would be in the hands of one of his own. When his own son was born, King Laius tried to kill the newborn. The King took this action to alter his destiny as predicted by the fortuneteller. The newborn is taken to the mountains to die since nobody was ready to execute him as directed by the king. On the mountains, a shepherd who takes him to the royal family of Corinth rescues the little Oedipus. King Polybus raise him, as his own son until he decides to leave to trace his roots. Destiny controls activities and actions taken by King Oedipus in the play.
From the time the King is born, he survives numerous attempts of murder by his own father, King Laius. In the first attempt to ruin the life of the little Oedipus, Laius decides to pin the feet of his son. This leaves a scar on the feet of the little Oedipus. The action leaves the baby in pain but he survives the ordeal. The king then instructs his wife to murder their son. The Queen of the land finds it difficult to execute her own flesh and passes the task to one of her servants. The servant decides not to commit the murder because of the implications such as guilt after murder. He secretly takes the little boy to the mountain to die under effects of nature such as cold weather, wrath of wildlife, and hunger. He is rescued by a shepherd from the Corinth community who ensures that he is taken care of by delivering him to the king. The survival piece of the seen indicates that King Oedipus life was controlled by destiny. He had been destined to kill his own father and cleanse the community from unjust practices done by the king. This destiny ensures that he lives despite these attempts of murder directed towards him.
On the day King Laius is killed by Oedipus, the coincidence can only be explained through destiny. “An oracle was reported to Laios once (I will not say iron, Phoibos himself, but from his appointed ministers, at any rate) that his doom would be death at the hands of his own son. His son born of his flesh and of mine” (Dudley & Fitzgerald, Scene 2, pg 38 line 9-13). Oedipus sets out to trace his roots and prevent the harm he might cause to his stepfamily. On the same day, King Laius sets out to fulfill pilgrimage. King Oedipus had been in the custody of the royal family of the Corinth community. Destiny of killing the King of Thebes drives him out of Corinth to commit the act. Tension is developed between the two persons as to who should give way to the other’s chariot. King Oedipus kills the king during this encounter without any idea of who against he was fighting. He kills the king without knowing that the person he was tussling with was his own father and the King of Thebes. In this scene of the play, proclamations of the fortuneteller/oracle, about how the king would lose his life, are fulfilled. This indicates the power of destiny in the life and history of King Oedipus.
In the play, destiny controls King Oedipus when solving a riddle/puzzle as the final step to be considered the King of Thebes. He is help by unknown power as only he had the answer to the puzzle as predicted by the oracle. The solving of the puzzle gives King Oedipus the opportunity to free the community from past injustices and evil activities. “You are not one of the immortal gods, we know; yet we have come to you to make our prayer as to the man surest in mortal ways and wisest in the ways of God. You saved us
From the Sphinx, that flinty singer and the tribute we paid to her so long; vet you were never
better informed than we, nor could we teach you :”( Dudley & Fitzgerald, Proloque, page 5 line 1-7). He marries his biological mother, Queen Jocaste, after the death of King Laius. The protagonist unknowingly of the existing relationship between him and the Queen does this action. Destiny of the King was decided that one day he would have to sleep with his mother to show the wickedness nature of the society. This destiny directs King Oedipus to be involved in such weird relationship. “But I say that you, with both your eves, are blind: you cannot see the wretchedness of your life, nor in whose house you live no, nor with whom. Who are your father and mother? Can you tell me? You do not even know the blind wrongs that you have done them on earth and in the world below” (Dudley & Fitzgerald page 22, line 20-25). He comes to know about these destinies later after becoming the King of Thebes, to ensure continuity in the community. Through destiny, he rightfully takes what belongs to him (throne), as the male sibling of King Laios.
Dudley F. & Fitzgerald R. Oedipus Rex; English Version
Kennedy, X J, and Dana Gioia. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Boston: Longman, 2010. Print.