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A Study on Oedipus as an Eclecticist in Oedipus the King

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2020, (77), pp.97-121
  • DOI : 10.31310/HUM.077.04
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : April 9, 2020
  • Accepted : May 6, 2020
  • Published : May 31, 2020

Lee, Sun Hyung 1

1김천대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The ancient Greeks who lived through the age of myth had a strong belief that human destiny was determined by gods. This determinism is well illustrated in the tragedies they created. Of them, Oedipus the King by Sophocles also shows that the fate planned by gods is realized without a single mistake even before the birth of the protagonist. In this tragedy, the main character tries his best to get out of the oracle given to him. Nevertheless, Oedipus falls into the abyss of tragedy. Does this tragedy show determinism according to which humans can’t escape from the fate decided by gods? Considering Oedipus’ behaviors, it does not necessarily mean it. First, he trusts the ordinary people more than the prophet, who is the agent of gods. Second, instead of blaming gods for what he has done, he takes responsibility for himself. Third, at the height of the tragedy, he pokes his eyes instead of choosing his own death. In short, Oedipus the King can be seen as a tragedy that compromises determinism and the freedom of will, rather than resorting to typical determinism. This view of Oedipus as a figure situated between determinism and freedom will open a new horizon for the interpretation of Oedipus the King.

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