A central theme of the Oedipus the King is the tension between individual action and fate. While free choices, such as Oedipus’s decision to pursue knowledge of his identity, are significant, fate is responsible for Oedipus’s incest and many of the other most critical and devastating events of the play. By elevating the importance of fate, Sophocles suggests that characters cannot be fully responsible for their actions. It becomes difficult, for example, to blame Oedipus for marrying mother given his ignorance.
Once he is able to recognize his destiny, Oedipus is better able to influence his own life.
Oedipus is not limited by fate, rather by the knowledge of his fate.