Oedipus Final Paper - Cho 1 Nicholas Cho Professor Creasy R1B What Have I Done December 8 2018 Predeterminism vs Free Will in Oedipus Rex While this

Oedipus Final Paper - Cho 1 Nicholas Cho Professor Creasy...

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Cho 1 Nicholas Cho Professor Creasy R1B: What Have I Done? December 8 , 2018 Predeterminism vs. Free Will in Oedipus Rex While this moment is not explicitly a part of the story and is instead mentioned by Oedipus as a memory , a pivotal moment in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles is when Oedipus unknowingly murders his father Laius and in turn fulfills the prophecy that was placed on Oedipus’ family by Apollo through the Oracle of Delphi . A key detail of this incident is that the altercation between Oedipus and Laius and the murder of Laius takes place at a crossroads . This essay will try to explain the significance behind this location and the reasoning behind why this detail is key in proving that Oedipus’ prophetic curse is a result of a predetermined fate driven by divine influence and not by the conscious efforts of Oedipus himself . This essay will also examine why Oedipus was so violent in his retaliation to Laius and consider the possible reasons for his overtly hostile behavior . The use of the crossroads as the location of the murder is significant because of the various associations that crossroads have in Ancient Greek culture . Hekate , a chthonic goddess of witchcraft , is also often associated with forms of boundaries between realms such as doorways and crossroads . In fact , as Stephen Halliwell states in his journal “Where Three Roads Meet: A Neglected Detail in the Oedipus Tyrannus” , “such places were the location of various ritual practices , especially of a cathartic or apotropaic kind” (Halliwell 187) . This shows the significance of the crossroads in the story because it serves as both a state of transition between
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Cho 2 two realms and a general symbol of negative energy . Another example of chthonic association arises in Aeschylus’ Laius , where a supposed survivor of Laius’s retinue recalls having “reached the point where the road forked to Potniae” (Halliwell 188) before being confronted by Oedipus . Potniae , described as being one of the destinations of the different paths of the crossroads , is a town named after “Potnia” , a term that is associated with goddesses such as “Demeter and Kore” (Halliwell 188) . Demeter is a goddess of life and death and Kore , or Persephone , is wife of Hades and ruler of the underworld . Thus , by definition , both are also considered chthonic goddesses and are therefore connected to Hekate as well . While this description is in the depiction of the Oedipus myth by Aeschylus and not Sophocles , it still emphasizes the important connection between the murder location , divine involvement , and themes of misfortune . This connection is significant because it provides a possible reason behind why the murder was carried out at this location . This also supports the argument that the crossroads being the murder location is not just an insignificant detail and that its meaning deserves further analysis .
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