The events in Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, show the overwhelming relationship of man's free will existing within the limits of fate. Man is free to chose and is ultimately responsible for his actions. Both the concept of fate and freewill played an important part in Oedipus" downfall. Although Oedipus is a victim of fate, he is not controlled by it. He was destined from birth to marry his mother and murder his father. This prophecy, as warned by the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, was unconditional and inevitably would come to pass, no matter what Oedipus could have done to avoid these circumstances. Oedipus" past actions were determined by fate, but the situation in Thebes, is a result of his own freewill.
At the beginning of this tragedy, Oedipus took many actions leading to his downfall. Instead of waiting for the plague to end, out of compassion for his suffering people of Thebes, Oedipus orders Creon to seek the oracle at Delphi. In his hastiness, when he learns of Apollo's word, he passionately curses the murderer of the former King Laius, and so unknowingly speaks against himself:.
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 - / I curse myself as well if by any chance / he proves to be an intimate in our house, / here at my hearth with my full knowledge, / may the curse I just called come down on him strike me! (280-287).
Oedipus has a number of internal flaws, such as his pride, ignorance, insolence and disbelief in gods, and his overwhelming and unrelenting quest for the truth, ultimately contributes to his destruction. In order for Sophocles" Greek audience to relate to the tragic hero, he has to have some type of tragic flaw, in this case many. When Oedipus is told, after threatening Tiresias, that he is responsible for the murder of King Laius, he is enraged and persists that the prophecy isn't true.