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How does the concept of fate operate within the tragedy text To answer this question I have studied the concept of fate in The Oedipus Trilogy by Sophocles References are made to all three plays with Oedipus the King being analysed in detail Introduction Are people truly responsible for their actions This question has puzzled humanity throughout history Over the centuries people have pondered the influence of divine or diabolical power environment genetics even entertainment as determining how free any individual is in making moral choices The ancient Greeks acknowledged the role of fate as a reality outside the individual that shaped and determined human life In modern times the concept of fate has developed the misty halo of romantic destiny but for the ancient Greeks fate represented a terrifying unstoppable force Fate was the will of the gods an unopposable reality ritually revealed by the oracle at Delphi who spoke for Apollo himself in mysterious pronouncements The promise of prophecy drew many but these messages usually offered the questioner incomplete evasive answers that both illuminated and darkened lifes path One famous revelation at Delphi offered a general the appealing prophecy that a great victory would be won if he advanced on his enemy The oracle however did not specify to whom the victory would go By the fifth century BC Athenians frankly questioned the power of the oracle to convey the power of the gods Philosophers such as Socrates opened rational debate on the nature of moral choices and the role of the gods in human affairs Slowly the belief in a human beings ability to reason and to choose gained greater acceptance in a culture long devoted to the rituals of augury and prophecy Judging from his plays Sophocles took a conservative view on augury and prophecy The oracles in the Oedipus trilogy speak truly though obliquely as an unassailable authority Indeed this voice of the gods the expression of
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