The Story of OedipusJason GaroutteAfter reading Oedipus, one may think that in this story, there was nojustice, and nobody could avoid their fate. King Laius and Queen Jocasta,fearing the prophecy of the Delphic oracle, had the young Oedipus left on MountCithaeron to die, but the father dies and the son marries the mother anyway. Oedipus, seemingly a good person, also tries to avoid the second prophecy, onlyto fulfill the first.
But even through all this, I have done some research andfeel that there was justice in Oedipus, The King, and their fate wasn’tcompletely sealed. First, the murder of King Laius. Laius seemed to die a unwarranted death,but he was not necessarily in complete innocence, for he had done some maliciousthings earlier in his life, such as the attempted murder of his son, Oedipus,and the kidnapping and rape of Chrysippus, a young man Laius fell in love withbefore Jocasta. And Oedipus wasn’t as guilty under ancient Greek law as he isunder our modern laws.
It was every Greek’s duty to harm his/her enemies, andas far as Oedipus knew, King Laius was an enemy. Queen Jocasta wasn’t exactly guiltless, either. The great Queen had alsotried with King Laius to kill their son, and had no respect for the propheciesof Apollo: “A prophet? Listen to me and learn some peace of mind: no skill inthe world, nothing human can penetrate the future. ” She was also the other halfof a mother-son marriage. Greek law considered the act, not the motive -meaning that even though she nor Oedipus knew they were related, they committedthe crime.
Finally, Oedipus’s guilt. In some ways, Oedipus was the most guilty ofthem all. Consider his ‘hubris’. He regarded himself as almost a god, assumingthat since he alone had solved the sphinx’s riddle, he was the one of the gods’favorites. He was very quick to judge, and judged on the most flimsy ofevidence. He calls on Tiresias to tell him what he should do, and when hedoesn’t like what he hears, Oedipus says, “Your words are nothing – futile”, andaccuses Creon of plotting with Tiresias to hatch a plan to overthrow him.
I don’t think that fate is inescapable. If it was, then why would theblind prophet Tiresias tell Laius, Jocasta, and Oedipus their future, if not tolet them change. I believe they were all involved in their own ‘fate’. In howthey reacted to the original prophecy, combined with actions before and afterthe prophecy, the three decided how the prophecy would be delivered. Justice, interms of Greek law, was served.