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The Question of Destiny in Sophocles’ Oedipus and Krakauer’s into The Wild

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Some people believe that they are in control of their life while others believe that their lives are controlled by destiny, which poses the question, are our lives controlled by destiny or our own choices? There are two texts that try to answer this question. One of them is Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and the other is the story of Oedipus by Sophocles. I think Into the Wild answers the question better than Oedipus. Into the Wild shows how a person made a choice on his own to leave his life behind and Oedipus seems to answer the question pretty well but it’s fictional. It’s a tragedy created by Sophocles.

Into the Wild does a better job of answering the question because destiny doesn’t seem to have a role in it. All of the decisions were made by him and him alone. This quote proves that destiny had nothing to do with his life, “He was now Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny.” He knew what destiny is and knew that it had no part in how his life turned out. Another piece of evidence in favor of people having choice is that not much affected his decisions. The major decision of this story is for him to go on this journey. The only thing that affected his decision was his belief in Civil Disobedience. The story says, “He answered to statutes of a higher order — that as a latter-day adherent of Henry David Thoreau, he took as gospel the essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’.” This is the only evidence of something besides his own decision making that was involved in the whole entire story.

Oedipus doesn’t do as good of a job of answering the question mainly because it’s fictional. When you read the story it’s pretty convincing that our lives are controlled by destiny but it’s not credible or authentic. The story is about a king who is told a fate that his son will kill him and marry his mother which is his wife. In an attempt to prevent that future he tries to kill Oedipus as a baby but that only solidified his fate. It appears that our lives are controlled by destiny but it is just a very tragic story. The big reveal of fate in this text is stated by the oracle: “I say thou art the murderer of the man whose murderer thou pursuest.” This is how destiny is supposed to play out and Oedipus soon realizes what he has done. The whole story is fiction so it can’t be compared to a nonfiction story like Into the Wild.

Both stories prove their side of the argument very well but one is fake while the other is real. In conclusion Into the Wild gives the best argument because it has a better counter argument and better evidence unlike the story of Oedipus. The question from the beginning, are our lives controlled by destiny or our own choices still stands. Into the Wild seems to answer the question best but I’m sure there are many other real stories that would be convincing of destiny controlling our lives. 

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