When reading Sophocles' play, Oedipus the King, many controversial topics are presented throughout the entire piece. The major controversy in this play is whether or not Oedipus is responsible for his fate. After carefully examining this play, Oedipus is clearly not to blame for his tragic fate because the Gods had already predetermined his fate before the play even begins. Other reasons that he is not to blame are that his parents sent him to be killed as a young child and the shepherds did not kill him as they were ordered to. Throughout this paper, these arguments, along with excerpts from the play, will be used to defend Oedipus' honor.
The first point, and probably the most important one, is that before the play even begins, Oedipus' fate is predetermined from the Gods. Apollo is the God that made the prophecy that eventually would come true. The prophecy made is clearly explained by Oedipus, towards the middle of the play:.
Apollo told me once "it is my fate ".
I must make love with my own mother,.
shed my father's blood with my own hands. (1090-1092).
This prophecy condemned Oedipus from his birth. This prophecy comes true and Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother. Oedipus is not to blame because he is under the assumption that Polybus, The King of Corinth, and Merope are his real birth parents. However, Laius, King of Thebes and killed by Oedipus, and Jocasta, Oedipus' wife, are his real parents. Oedipus knows of the prophecy and he desperately tries not to let it come true and having the knowledge of who is real parents were, might have saved him from his agonistic fate. .
A second point showing Oedipus is not to blame is the fact that his real parents, Laius and Jocasta, sent him to be killed on the mountains of Cithaeron. Knowledgeable of Apollo's prophecy, Laius and Jocasta desperately try to avoid it from coming true. They pin Oedipus' ankles together and send him to be killed.