Oedipus Rex Themes
by Sophocles


The theme of the play is that no one can escape his or her fate. Oedipus attempts to defeat the prophecy by moving away from his believed mother and father. He makes the assumption that he can beat it if he’s never near his parents again, but it is his attempt to beat the prophecy that only further confirms it. There is no tricking fate for him; not even his powerful logic could come up with a circumstance to break the prophecy. Another example of Oedipus sealing his own fate is when he first damns Laius’s murderer to a life of exile or death. Oedipus does not undermine even his own authority when he discovers that it is himself who murdered the former king. He does not offer himself a lesser charge; in fact he chooses the more painful of the two punishments, not seeing himself of deserving of a swift death.

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