MartynHolderDr.HamiltonEnglish110227 January2018Can We Control OurFate? The saying, “you control your own destiny”,applies to everyone’s daily life; Is it that simple? Fate is the idea that anoutcome or event is out of your control, but understanding fate is complicated.In our world today, fate and free will still remain amystery. Is everything we do controlled or do we have the freedom ofchoice? Some peoplebelieve that your fate is destiny and can never be changed, while othersbelieve that fate is the way you respond to life’s actions. The play, Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, depicts themany different aspects fate.
In this essay, I will be using Oedipus the King and Macbeth, by Shakespeare, to explain andsuggest why a person can control their fate. During the play Oedipus the King, Oedipus, the protagonist, tries to defy fate byavoiding a prophecy. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a prophecy is definedas, “a prediction of something to come true.” Oedipus receives this prophecy inlight of a plague wreaking havoc on his kingdom. Oedipus rules the Kingdom ofThebes, although he was originally from a neighboring city called Corinth. Inhis youth, Oedipus was told by a prophet in Corinth that he will murder hisfather and marry his mother. In an attempt to escape this prophecy, Oedipusmoved from Corinth to Thebes.
During his travels, Oedipus is provoked and attackedby a man, resulting in Oedipus murdering this man and his group of servants.Oedipus arrives in Thebes at a time when the current King has gone missing andis later found murdered. Oedipus then defeats a Sphinx and becomes the new Kingof Thebes, meaning he will marry the current Queen of Thebes. Throughout theplay, Oedipus struggles with another prophecy that states the murder of theprecious King must be exiled before the plague will terminate. Reading theplay, it is clear that the message is portrayed through the prophecy, ratherthan the plot.
If we observe Oedipus’ actions, we can see that he is trying toavoid and manipulate the prophecy, but his attempts are futile. As the storycontinues to unfold, it is revealed that the man Oedipus had murdered was actuallyhis father and the King of Thebes. This is because Oedipus was exiled as aninfant and adopted by a family in Corinth. By attempting to avoid the prophecies,he set himself up for their fulfilled. These examples displayed by Oedipus begs thequestion, “do we have free will or is fate pre-determined?” Most ofthe events that happened to Oedipus were left to the hand of fate, but some ofthose events could have been avoided. Oedipus’ life followed what wasprophesied, but the choices that he made in his life could have changed theireventual outcome.
He was trying to escape his own fate by leaving Corinth to avoidmurdering his father, only to find out that he was adopted and that wasn’t histrue father. Likewise, if Oedipus had not traveled to Thebes, he would not havefound and murdered his true father. Healso had a choice to not murder his father, but chose to do so because of his intolerance.There were many cases where Oedipus had a choice that would have changed hisfate, but he chosen a path that ultimately proved the prophecy to accurate.
Therefore, we can assume Oedipus could have avoided the prophecy by makingdifferent choices along the way. Now, I will discuss to role of fate in play Macbeth. Themain case of Macbeth’s free will is shown in his murder of Duncan, to becomeking. Macbeth heard a prophecy from three witches that stated he would be kingand began to plan the murder of the present king. The witches explain the prophecy by stating, “Allhail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glams!” All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee,thane of Cawdor!” “All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter! (1.3.6).
” Manywould ridicule at hearing such a prediction, but Macbeth used it asjustification to murder the King. It was clear that being King was somethingthat Macbeth desired, and would do anything to achieve it. It’s hard to tell ifMacbeth becoming King was as a result of fate, because he took the matters intohis own hands. Right after hearing the prophecy, the first thing Macbeth didwas write a letter to Lady Macbeth telling her of his plan. He did not let the prophecyrun its course. Macbeth and his wife planned out every action necessary forMacbeth to become king.
He may have eventually become King if he never didanything, but there is no way of knowing what would have happened.