The question of destiny is quite evident in Sophocles, being evident in his most impressive tragedy – Oedipus the King. Sophocles was able to create deep and engaging play that is full of despair and humanity as well as heroism. Yet we do not know whether the tragedy was created during the time when Sophocles himself was experiencing hard times or when someone from his relatives suffered the hard times.
Certainly also in this play we are not able to distill the main idea in a simple way as we can not just so simply identify the main ideas as they happen, as it would be a stark simplification. The idea of the play is firmly connected with the whole plot and the characters and it is literally inseparable. The state of the whole drama is affected by contrast as Sophocles juxtapose various characters, but also creates contrasts in the life of the principal hero. Oedipus the King’s is a classic tragedy, in which the main character sets the pace of the plot. Everything is governed by the rules and regulations that are controlled by the gods. Greek gods tend to be the guardians of ancestral or social collectives. They are immortal and powerful. Fairness of gods however fails in Oedipus. The fate of Oedipus is given long before. It does not mean that the poet does not care and that he only makes the heroe as the twist of fate. In Oedipus, we see his moral and human values, even if it is a game of fate that was marked beforehand as he wants to fight against anything.
In this tragedy, we can also record notion of „diké“, which means simply justice. It fills in a natural way, thanks to the negotiations of the main characters. Deity here stands in the background, while „diké“ is the only purpose of human action, as it has its own laws and those are still subject to the wishes of gods.
Diké may also represent a certain order and balance. Violation of this principle requires restoration regardless of whether the order was violated intentionally or unwittingly. As we know, Oedipus had just unknowingly committing horrific crimes, and thus actually violates the order: his terrible fall is therefore fulfilling diké. The world and life can be very cruel and may not offer luck to those who should deserve it, even though it may seem completely unjust. Yet, this world described by Sophocles is not a domain of chance, arbitrariness, where human virtues have their place. It is based on certain principles of equilibrium, which always restores the natural course of events. In this particular point we can see a positive view of the surrounding world.
Oedipus, of course, is not entirely innocent. The journey, which drives Oedipus in his destiny, is full of errors despite the strength of his intellect, that guarantees him the throne of Thebes, as well as his confidence and confidence, faith and the will of reason. The entire journey of Oedipus errors on one side is intimidating, on the other hand heroic. Oedipus is confident, yet modest, acting within the limits of his apabilities. Tragedy is full of fatality and humanism. We see on one side a hard fate, on the other hand we admire his strength irreversible. The tragic heroism lies between the two extremes. If the individual is entirely blameless, tragic interes is completely gone, because the tragic collision loses power. The hero lays on the shoulders of his life a something that he himself is the architect, which makes him responsible for it. The tragic hero is becomes bad and evil itself its own theme of the tragedy (Stielow, 2011).
- Stielow, F. World Literature Anthology Through the Renaissance: Volume One. America Public University, 2011.