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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Predestiny and Predisposition

Oedipus Rex explores man's inability to run from his destiny. Oedipus, his parents, and a few other people became aware that something unthinkable is going to happen. I focus on the sexual component because it seems that Oedipus was not particularly traumatized my coming across some folks on the highway and killing them. Perhaps the Thebes-Corinth corridor observed a version of the stand your ground law. Also, frankly, it is not hard to imagine a circumstance that leads to a father killing a son, particularly in the king-crown prince dynamic. Also, Sophocles devotes some significant energy to describing Oedipus' sexual perversion in new and different ways.
He sowed the same womb as his father . . . Time, which watches everything and uncovered you against your will, now sits in judgment of that fatal marriage, where child and parent have been joined so long. . . . She lay moaning by the bed, where she, poor woman, had given birth twice over—a husband from a husband, children from a child. . . . As he moved, he kept asking us to give him a sword, as he tried to find that wife who was no wife—whose mother’s womb had given birth to him and to his children.
The play ends with Oedipus mutilating himself and his mother/wife killing herself. Uplifting I know. I can't help but be reminded of the torment we inflict on the gay community by insisting that they deny their sexuality. Running from one's destiny, Sophocles teaches, leads to suffering. I wonder if it matters whether one considers something to be a predestiny rather than a predisposition. I wonder whether my heterosexual orientation and cisgender is destiny or disposition.

2 comments:

Susan said...

I also wonder if there are some for whom it is destiny and some disposition?

JimII said...

I wonder about that, too. I suspect there are some for whom their orientation is stronger than for others.