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Notes on Oedipus the King Themes

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Oedipus the King Topic Tracking : Fate

Fate 1: Oedipus knows that Thebes has a fate, and sends Creon to Apollo to find out what this fate is and how to make Thebes healthy again.

Fate 2: Unwillingly, Tiresias reveals Oedipus' fate--that he is to kill his own father and sleep with his own mother. Oedipus refuses to believe this fate, calls Tiresias a liar, and orders him to leave.

Fate 3: Jocasta tells the story of how her son was supposed to kill his father and sleep with his mother, but, she says, this never happened. Therefore, she claims that Oedipus should not believe in fate.

Fate 4: When a drunk person called him a bastard son and people refused to speak about it, Oedipus went to the Delphi to find out what they meant, and to ask what his fate and destiny was. However, the Delphi said that he had terrible things in store for him, such as killing his father and sleeping with his mother, and sent him away.

Fate 5: Oedipus left Corinth in order to escape his terrible fate.

Fate 6: Oedipus thinks that while traveling, he killed his father without knowing it, as was his fate.

Fate 7: A Corinthian brings news that Oedipus' father, Polybus, has died a natural death. Thus, Oedipus says that his fate is impossible unless his father died because he missed him too much.

Fate 8: Oedipus refuses to return to rule Corinth, as he is scared that he will mate with his mother, as his fate predicts.

Fate 9: The Corinthian informs Oedipus that his fate does not lie in Corinth, because Merope and Polybus are not his real parents--he was given to them as a gift after being found in Mount Kithairon with his feet bound

Fate 10: The herdsman who gave Oedipus to the Corinthian verifies that he was Jocasta's child, forcing Oedipus to realize that he has not escaped his fate, and did indeed kill his father and sleep with his mother.

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