|dc.description.abstract||The goal of this thesis is to analyse the differences and similarities in the
perceptions of fate and aleatory events in the Antigone, the Oedipus Tyrannus, and the
Oedipus at Colonus of Sophocles.
Rather than dwelling on the anachronistic question of “determinism versus freewill”,
the focus will be on the ways in which the characters themselves interpret the
things that happen to them in their lifespan, in terms of luck, fate, or things that
could have been different had they known better at a given moment of time. The
conditions in which they perform the determining actions of their lives will be under
scrutiny. Actions that seem to arise from contingency, from the previous moves of
other actors, from accidental miscalculation, or even from voluntary offence will be
contrasted with those for which there is no visible chain of cause and effect, and that
are thus attributed to the desires of the gods or to inborn misfortune.
There is, from one play to another, a contrast between authoritative assertions of
characters with acknowledged prophetic power (Tiresias in the first two works,
Oedipus in the later play) that lead the audience to hope for different things: in the
Antigone, it shall be argued, there is more room for the possibility of a timely solution
for the conflict, than in the Oedipus Tyrannus, where everything has happened already
before the start of the play. In the Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus’ new status means that
he has understood more about the functioning of reality and the workings of destiny.
The ways in which the plot structure itself conveys a view on the workings of fate
will also be analysed, from the series of coincidences in the Oedipus Tyrannus to the
function of the episodes in the other two plays.
Even though the Theban plays are not philosophy treatises, the echoes of
contemporary philosophical ideas are a constant in their text. Wherever relevant, a
contrast with the Presocratic corpus has been made in an attempt to identify some of
the thought patterns reused and adapted by Sophocles for his specific purposes and
portrayals of the human position in the vaster cosmos.||en_US