Monday, October 22, 2012

Fate

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What’s your Fate?

When it comes to fate there are two types of people, those who believe in it and those who don’t. The people who don’t believe in it often don’t because they don’t like to think that they don’t have control over there life, when in all reality they do have control. For example, we are all going to die, there is no changing that, but we can sometimes change when, or how we die. To help explain myself I’m going to look at the role of fate in Sophocles’ play, Antigone.

In this play every character is given a determined fate, but they are also given several choices that they can make as individuals. By making those choices they’re determining their destiny. When they determine their destiny there are consequences that they must live with, sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad. In Antigone the role of fate comes into play when Teresias foresees the death of Haeman in his speech to Creon. Teresias says, “You shall have given a son of your own loins to death, in payment for death”. This occurs after Creon has made the decision not to bury the body of Antigone’s brother, Polynices; he then makes a law stating that anybody who attempts to bury him shall be sentenced to death. That in turn sets in effect the decision of Antigone to bury her brother, which leads up to her getting caught in the act by Creon’s servants. From this point on a domino like affect takes place leading up to the deaths of Antigone, Eurydice (Creon’s wife), and Haeman.

Now for the explanation of destiny and fate in this play. Creon chooses his destiny by not burying the body, his fate then becomes the consequences of his destiny. Creon’s fate develops into him having to live through the deaths of his son and wife. After Creon sends Antigone off to be killed and his son has proclaimed his love for Antigone, Creon realizes that he has made a major mistake. He understands that his actions have been much too harsh for the crime Antigone committed and that he may lose the love of his son if he doesn’t try to correct his mistakes. The only problem is that Creon realizes his mistakes all too late and he now must suffer the consequences of his destiny. When Antigone is killed Haeman arrives to see her body still hanging from the rope and then vengefully kills himself in front of Creon. Then when Creon returns home he arrives to see his wife has also slain herself after she learned of Antigone and Haeman.

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You see that the predicted fate of Haeman comes through in the end despite the attempts of Creon to correct his mistakes. It was predicted that Haeman was to die and that’s what happened. In this play you get the impression that Sophocles is trying to say that you can pick and choose your destiny and set up your own fate but once you’ve committed to your fate you can’t change it. I draw this conclusion about Sophocles because he also writes of a similar scenario in Oedipus Rex.

In Oedipus Rex King Laius and his wife had a child named Oedipus. In this play there is also a prophet who goes by the name Apollo, and Apollo gives and oracle about Oedipus saying that “he (Oedipus) is destined to one day kill his father, and become his own mother’s wife”. Well the king could not live with this possibility and had a servant nail Oedipus’ feet together and leave him in the mountains to die. But once again fate comes through and everything thing that was predicted about Oedipus comes true.

By reading this two plays you get the inkling that Sophocles is telling us that there are some things in life that you just don’t have any control over. We’ve all heard the story of the boy and girl who grew up next to each other and fell in love and proclaimed to one another that they would always be together, that they were made for each other and so on. Then after high school they go away to different colleges and end up meeting different people and never get back together. What most people would say to that is that they “just weren’t meant to be together”. That is the same as saying their fate was to move away and find other people and despite all the attempts people make to stay together and always love each other if it’s not their fate to be with that person then there isn’t much they can do about it.

In the end I get the feeling that you can’t change fate. Destiny is different, you can change your destiny, and I do things everyday that changes my destiny. When I made the choice to go to college so that I could get a well paying job to make money I picked my destiny, but if my fate is to die poor then I believe that no matter how much money I make when my time comes I will die poor.



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