Oedipus Rex Cosmic Trial

Caitlin Lacy AP English Literature 11/12/12 Persuasive Essay Everything happens for a reason. You were born for a reason, there’s a reason you got an F on your math quiz. Everything happens for a reason. Most of the time the reason for something bad happening might not be very clear to you, but it’s there. Everything that happens to you happens because it all leads up to your ultimate fate, you can’t change your fate because for one, you probably don’t know what it is, but if you happened to know, everything you do to prevent it will eventually lead up to it.
Think back to why you got an F on your math quiz, you didn’t study at all. So, you get your quiz back and your teacher asks you to stay after class, after her lecture you walk out of class late and you bump into a guy, long story short, he’s your soul mate and fifteen years later you’re happily married. Imagine if you had studied. It was fate, you weren’t supposed to study. No one is to blame for Laius’s death, not even Oedipus, it was fate, and fate can’t be avoided.
Before reading the play, we’re already aware of Oedipus’s story. We know what his ultimate fate is, so we know what that all of Oedipus’s actions led up to his ultimate fate. One of the first clues we are given is also one of the biggest clues proving that fate can’t be changed. King Laius didn’t kill Oedipus himself, he ordered the shepherd to do it for him. There was no way for Laius to know whether the shepherd would kill the infant or not because he wasn’t present.

Naturally, the shepherd didn’t kill Oedipus because Oedipus was just an infant, and a person with a heart probably wouldn’t kill an infant just because, the shepherd then proceeded to give Oedipus to a messenger who then took the baby to Corinth where Oedipus was adopted by the king and queen. This leads to another clue, which is the fact that Oedipus was raised to believe that the king and queen of Corinth were his biological parents. Had he known they were his adoptive parents he most likely wouldn’t have gone to the oracle to Apollo at Delphi.
The very fact that he went to see the oracle is just another example of fate prevailing. Once Oedipus learned his fate he left Corinth because he obviously didn’t want the prophecy to come true. Fate is the strongest theme in the story, another reason why fate is to blame for King Laius’s death. He had to be killed by his son no matter what; every single action in the play shows that. From the very beginning there was a way around this terrible fate, but Laius lost the chance when he ordered someone else to do his dirty work for him.
Also, Oedipus was a baby at the time so he had no control over what was happening to him, and it would also be ridiculous for Oedipus to be blamed for his father’s death, because he was destined to fulfill this prophecy from before he was even born. If there was no prophecy, and Oedipus had killed his father, then he could be blamed, but there is too much evidence suggesting otherwise. From the way everything plays out you can see that fate is the cause of the whole ordeal. The minute Oedipus found out what he was destined for, he fled Corinth, because, as mentioned before, he believed that his adoptive parents were his biological parents.
If you found out that you were destined for something as terrible was what Oedipus was destined for, you’d probably leave home too. No one who is sane wants to marry their mother and kill their father, Oedipus found out and tried to prevent this from happening, one might argue that his efforts to prevent his fate led to his fate, which is true, but he had no way of knowing that among the men he killed in the road that one of them was his father, and that the woman he married was his mother. “Now my curse on the murderer.
Whoever he is, a lone man unknown in his crime or one among many, let that man drag out his life in agony, step by painful step-“ Oedipus, 280-283. Although this quote is extremely ironic, it shows that Oedipus has no idea he killed his father, and also that he believes that the act was wrong, and that the murderer needs to be punished. We also know that Oedipus murdered his father and his father’s men at a triple crossroad, there were two other roads for Oedipus to follow after killing the men, but for some reason, fate, it happened to be the road that led to Thebes.
Fate, once again. Oedipus, once again, had no way of knowing that he had chosen the path to Thebes, it was just supposed to be that way. At the time of Oedipus’s arrival in Thebes, there was a sphinx keeping people out of the city, anyone who guessed the sphinx’s riddle incorrectly was devoured. Also, Oedipus had already fulfilled half of the prophecy, which meant that he was going to answer the riddle correctly because he had to get to Thebes to be able to wed Jocasta.
Because Oedipus saved Thebes, and because the king was mysteriously murdered, it was custom for Oedipus to marry the widowed queen, it had always been that way and there was no reason for Oedipus to reject her, he had no idea that he was about to marry and have kids with his mother. By this time, the prophecy was then fulfilled, and no one had any idea about it. The prophecy ended here. There wasn’t anything anyone could do anymore. Many years passed and Oedipus came to be one of the greatest kings Thebes had ever seen.
Until the city of Thebes fell under a terrible plague, and everything Oedipus knew went downhill from there. When Oedipus was informed that finding Laius’s murderer would help bring happiness back to Thebes, he was set on it, because he was a good king. “OEDIPUS: From whom of these our townsmen, and what house? ?SHEPHERD: Forbear for God’s sake, master, ask no more. ?OEDIPUS: If I must question thee again, thou’rt lost. (1164-1167)” This exchange between Oedipus and the shepherd shows that Oedipus will stop at nothing to save his people and find the murderer.
It wasn’t fate that led Oedipus to the truth, it was his own determination. He was completely blind to the truth, but when he figured out that all the clues pointed to him, he did something that most people wouldn’t do, he punished himself, he kept his word that Laius’s murderer would suffer, and Laius’s murderer did suffer indeed. He begged Creon to exile him; he gouged his own eyes out. Oedipus might be the one to blame for uncovering the truth, but he definitely isn’t the one to blame for killing Laius, it was set in stone for him, and there was no way around that.

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