One of the key purposes of using the prophecies is to reveal to the readers at the outset itself, the course, the work or the main protagonist will take. Although, it may reveal the crux of the plot, on the other level, it will heighten the curiosity of the readers regarding whether the prophecies will come true or how the prophecies will come true. Another key perspective of using prophecies is to state the fact that human lives will always be controlled by superior powers or external forces, without any chance of them controlling it. This perspective of prophecy was aptly used in the Greek works, Oedipus the King and The Odyssey. This paper will discuss how the lives of the main protagonists Oedipus and Odysseus were dictated by these prophecies, with Oedipus’ prophecies leading to his downfall and tragedy, while prophecies for Odysseus leading to success.
Oedipus fate, it seems, has been sealed even before he is born, with the prophecy coming from Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. As King Laius and Jocasta did not have any children after many years of marriage, they consulted the Oracle at Delphi regarding their childlessness. The Oracle gave out the prophecy that if Jocasta bears a son, that son would kill her husband King Laius and will also marry her. This prophecy was recollected by Jocasta later, “An oracle once came to Laius declaring he was doomed/To perish by the hand of his own son, A Child that should be born to him by me” (Sophocles 51). To prevent his prophecy from actualizing only Oedipus was ordered to be killed. However, he survives and was cared by King Polybus of Corinth and his wife Merope, who raise him as their own.
After hearing rumors that Polybus and Merope are not his real biological parents, he coincidently meets the same Oracle at Delphi to clarify his doubts. Without directly answering Oedipus’ question on parentage, the Oracle again repeats the earlier prophecy but in different words, from the perspective of Oedipus. Oedipus