The play Oedipus Rex was so dramatic, and tragic that by the end I was
drained in the best way. Oedipus Rex is about an honorable man who seeks to find
out the truth, which eventually in the end causes him to suffer. There is a great
deal of denial and stubbornness that Oedipus must overcome to accept the truth of
his inevitable prophecy. In the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, there is a feeling
of sympathy for a man who seems to have made his own personal choices but at
the same time does not actually have any control over his prophecy or fate.
While reading Oedipus I was constantly surprised and taken aback by
the events that were taking place. I remember being disturbed when Teiresias reluctantly
told Oedipus that he was married to his mother and claimed that Oedipus was the
person who killed his father. Only to continuously be shocked when Iokaste explained
to Oedipus that she was told a very similar prophecy, yet she seemed to be in denial of it. After completing
the play, I realized that the reader knew the events that were going to occur
because Teiresias foreshadowed it to Oedipus early in the play. Teiresias states
“whether I speak or not, it is bound to come” (Scene 1, line 128), he is claiming
that prophecy will play itself out and there is no way to control it. Nevertheless, just like Oedipus and Iocasta, I
couldn’t help but be completely in denial and then shocked when the inevitable
truth that Teiresias spoke of slowly unfolded. Moreover, my first reaction was
to be judgmental of how dramatic and disturbing the whole ordeal was, but then
I felt sympathy for Oedipus because it seemed to me that this was simply his fate.
Oedipus didn’t knowingly marry his mother Iokaste, and neither did she mean to
marry her son, that was the responsibility of the prophecy. It is difficult to blame
Oedipus and Iokaste and laugh at how thoughtless and foolish they are because
that was the prophecy they were told and they couldn’t change any of it.
The idea of whether fate and prophecy trump the concept of individuals
having free will is constantly debated. In the case of the play Oedipus Rex, Oedipus’s
determination to seek the truth of the prophecy was his choice, however it
seems that eventually there would be no escape from his inevitable fate.
Therefore, my response was more compassionate and understanding of Oedipus and
his situation rather than judging him.