“Gods can be evil sometimes. ” In the play “Oedipus the King”, Sophocles defamed the gods’ reputation, and lowered their status by making them look harmful and evil. It is known that all gods should be perfect and infallible, and should represent justice and equity, but with Oedipus, the gods decided to destroy him and his family for no reason. It might be hard to believe that gods can have humanistic traits, but in fact they do. The gods, especially Apollo, are considered evil by the reader because they destroyed an innocent man’s life and his family.
They destroyed Oedipus by controlling his fate, granting people the power of prophecy, telling Oedipus about his fate through the oracle of Apollo, and finally afflicting the people of Thebes with a dreadful plague. Fundamentally, by utilizing fate, prophecies, the oracle of Apollo, and the plague, the gods played a significant role in the destruction of Oedipus and his family. By controlling fate, the gods carry all the responsibility of Oedipus in killing his father and marrying his mother.
They are the only ones who can control fate, and thus they are the only ones to blame for what happened to Oedipus. They could have made Oedipus’ life less miserable, but they decided to destroy his and his family’s life by this terrible fate without him committing a sin. “It was Apollo, friends, Apollo, who brought to fulfillment all my sufferings. But the hand that struck my eyes was mine and mine alone. ” Oedipus blames Apollo for his two shameful crimes that caused his sufferings. On the other hand, he admits that the gods had nothing to do with his blindness, and that he’s responsible for that.
Also, in the previous quote, Oedipus tries to diminish his shame by convincing his people that it is not his fault, but Apollo’s, for murdering his father and marrying his mother. The moral of this story is that human beings can’t escape their fate, and thus it is not Oedipus’ fault for committing those two crimes. To destroy Oedipus, the gods granted the power of prophecy to oracles that delivered these prophecies to Laius and Jocasta. As a result, they kill their child to get rid of him and his terrible prophecies.
Unfortunately, these prophecies came true because Oedipus didn’t know his real parents. If he had known his real parents, he wouldn’t have killed his father and married his mother. “I would never have become my father’s killer, never have been known to all men as my own mother’s husband. Now I am godforsaken, the son of an accursed marriage, my own father’s successor in the marriage bed. If there is any evil worse than the worst that a man can sufferOedipus has drawn it for his lot. ” (p. 98) Oedipus is ashamed of himself and unsatisfied with his situation, even though it is not his fault.
The gods wouldn’t have made the prophecies come true without the help of the oracle, which delivered the prophecies to Oedipus’ parents. It is obvious that the gods were planning to this fate before Oedipus’ birth, because through the oracle, they announced the two prophecies while Jocasta was pregnant. Above that, the gods didn’t mention Oedipus’ blindness in their prophecies; but instead, they mentioned only Oedipus’ shameful crimes that involved both the father and the mother. The purpose of this was to make both parents agree to kill their child, for Laius didn’t want to be murdered by his son, and Jocasta didn’t want to marry her son.
This fear of terrible destiny led the parents to kill their child. On the other hand, if Laius and Jocasta hadn’t known about the prophecies, they would’ve kept the child, and thus he would know his parents, which makes it impossible for the prophecies to come true. One major aspect that caused the destruction of Oedipus and his family is Apollo’s oracle at Delphi. When Apollo’s oracle told Oedipus about the two prophecies, Oedipus tried to avoid them by moving to another city, and walked to meet his fate in Thebes.
This shows Apollo’s advantage in telling Oedipus about his fate. When Oedipus had asked Apollo who his real parents were, Apollo didn’t answer his question, but instead, he answered him with fearful prophecies to make him move to his real parents’ city. This proves Apollo’s intention and stubbornness to make the prophecies come true, in spite of the parents’ unsuccessful plan to avoid them. Also, in telling Oedipus about his prophecies, Apollo was trying to seek revenge from Oedipus’ parents for trying to escape fate.
The gods didn’t find all of this destruction enough, and they continued destroying Oedipus by sending a dangerous plague that ruined the city. They afflicted Thebes with this plague to destroy Oedipus and punish him for murdering Laius, in which they stipulated that the murderer should be killed or condemned to exile in order to end this plague. “Banishmentor repaying blood with blood. We must atone for a murder which brings this plague-storm on the city. ” Also, Apollo tried to clarify the murderer’s identity by telling Creon that the murderer is in Thebes.
Here in Thebes, Apollo said. What is searched for can be caught. What is neglected escapes. ” Basically, the gods concluded their destruction series in condemning Oedipus to exile or having him executed. In conclusion, the gods, Apollo in particular, played a major part in the overall circumstances of Oedipus. Oedipus’ destruction influenced his family, and thus the gods demolished an entire family. As a result of this terrible destruction of a man’s life and his family, the reader would consider the gods guilty and evil. The gods followed four steps to destroy Oedipus completely.
First, they controlled his fate and led him to murder his father, and marry his mother. They provided people with the power of prophecy to make Laius and Jocasta give away their child. Not only that, but Apollo’s oracle told Oedipus about his terrible fate that involve his parents to make him move to Thebes. Finally, they send a plague to the Thebans for not punishing the murderer of their king, which results in Oedipus’ exile or execution. Oedipus, the wise king, has never been destroyed by an evil man, but he was totally destroyed by what they call merciful, just gods.