Does the Average American believe that he has the choice of determining his path in life? Everyone comes to a point in their life when they have to make a serious decision. For instance, if Michael Jordan had attended a different college, other that North Carolina, would he still be in the NBA? Or was it his destiny to be a professional athlete? If George W. Bush had attended Princeton University instead of Harvard, would he still be our President? Was it his fate?.
In Oedipus the King, Iocasta says that Laius was slain at a place where three roads meet. This crossroads is referred to a number of times during the play, and it symbolizes the crucial moment, long before the events of the play, when Oedipus began to fulfill the dreadful prophecy that he would murder his father and marry his mother. A crossroads is a place where a choice has to be made, so crossroads usually symbolize moments where decision will have important consequences but where different choices are still possible. In Oedipus the king, the crossroads is part of the distant past, dimly remembered, and Oedipus was not aware at the time that he was making a fateful decision (Murray 59). In this play, the crossroads symbolize fate and the awesome power of prophecy rather than free will.
Oedipus' unyielding desire to uncover the truth about Laius' murder and the mystery surrounding his own birth led him to the tragic realization of his horrific deeds. Teiresias, Iocasta, and the herdsman tried to stop him from pursuing the truth. Take for example a part of the last conversation between Iocasta and Oedipus. After realizing that the prophecy had came true, Iocasta begs him to let the mystery go unsolved for once: "O, I beseech you, do not! Seek no more"(Sophocles)! Oedipus replies, "You cannot move me. I will know the truth" (Sophocles). He is unable to stop his quest for the truth, even under his wife's pleading. For it is in his own vain that he must solve the final riddle of his own life.