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In all aspects of life, the past is different from the present. Whether that be the way we talk, the way we dress, the way we travel, or the way we learn, it can be agreed upon by everyone that things have changed. The way we interpret things has changed as well. When studying the tragic play that is Oedipus The King, written by Sophocles, that was originally performed around 429 BC to the Ancient Greeks, it is certain that Sophocles had a reason for writing what he wrote. Sophocles presented this play to the people of Ancient Greece because he believed that everyone’s lives are controlled by both fate and free will. He was a strong believer in the fact that our past, present, and future make one circle; the circle of life. Sophocles attempts to emphasize how important it is to have a democracy rather than a dictatorship in all of his plays. This stresses free will over fate. At the same time, Sophocles also recognized that for people to live their lives to the fullest, they must have faith in the Gods. This is seen in the play because it seems as if his fate has already been chosen by the prophecies from the Gods. No matter how hard he tried to run away from it, it was almost as if he was running toward it. There was no escape.

Watching this play would have raised many questions about the belief system and the governing structure with the Ancient Greek audience. Does believing in the Gods and trusting the government allow us to have free choice, or do they decide our fate for us? Although this play was from so long ago, it is still very relevant to us today and is still widely read by students because the idea of fate versus free will is something that people today still struggle with. Back then, people believed that everything was already predetermined by the gods and the prophecies. Since Oedipus was the King, he was obligated to believe in the prophecies to make the people do so as well without questioning it. The Ancient Greeks believed that their gods could see the future and pass on this information to certain people. But when Sophocles was writing his plays, the educated people within the society were beginning to doubt how true these prophecies were. We, on the other hand, are not governors so we have the free choice to believe whatever we want to believe. We are not told what to believe. Nowadays, most people believe in the fact that we decide how our lives will be and choose to believe in free will rather than in fate. In the modern day, the government plays a role in what we are and are not allowed to do, but essentially, it is up to us to make these choices. We are not controlled by prophecies which we must believe.

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Plays and other fictional texts can influence a society because they artistically present ideas; in a manner that is not commonly used to get ideas across to people. When ideas are presented artistically, it is up to the audience to perceive them however they wish. Everyone is touched by art in different ways. The main message of Oedipus The King was that pride is often the cause of an individual’s downfall. Oedipus had so much pride he believed that he could outdo the gods and escape his prophecy, which led to his tragic downfall. This influenced society to always have faith in the gods and not see themselves as higher than the gods. Another fictional text that had a great influence on society was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This is the story of a little girl who faces the challenges of growing up. Throughout her journey, Alice crosses many difficult paths, accepts the consequences when she makes the wrong choice, and in the end, perseveres and gets where she needs to go. This influences society because it is the story of the path to maturity which everyone can relate to. Everyone faces conflict in their lives and as they mature, it is up to them to decide how they want to face these conflicts. Growing up reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland would have helped many young individuals as they matured.

In conclusion, although the idea of fate versus free will has changed throughout the years. it is clear to see that even though many years have passed, the fact that fictional texts affect how we view life has not changed.  

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