Recently these past few weeks I was assigned a book to read over the semester. This book happened to be the Oedipus Cycle by Sophocles. Some of you may be wondering how a book, especially the Oedipus Cycle, has anything to do with Video Gaming. With all due respect, I can’t think of any better way of understanding a book than to connect with it on a level that pertains to my own interests. Hopefully this will spark some interest in people’s minds, but in no way should this post be taken on a literal level (for this will only be my thoughts to help aid me through understanding the book).
Like Oedipus, I believe that almost everyone can agree in a way that most, if not, all protagonists in Video Gaming history have had to overcome hardships, whether it be saving the world, slaying zombies, or clearing a dungeon from all its demonic creatures. The variety of games today seems nearly endless that it’s nearly impossible to zone on a single topic that each the book and gaming have in common. In an effort to save myself from the hassle, I decided to pick a character that I believe shared much similarity to Oedipus in his adventures.
WARNING: To avoid any spoilers of Bioshock Infinite, please do NOT proceed reading!
One of the characters that stuck out to me the most out of similarity with Oedipus had to have been the protagonist from Bioshock Infinite who goes by the name of Booker DeWitt.
Both of them show a level of determination and hardship, but one of the most prominent factor of each story is not the protagonist themselves, but from the supporting character (or sidekick) that pushes them through these hard and rough times. In Oedipus at Colonus, we know that Oedipus is guided and helped by his daughter, Antigone, when he is blind. In Bioshock Infinite, Booker DeWitt adventures along with Elizabeth who guides him through the fictional world of Columbia. Both Antigone and Elizabeth have saved both saved their family from death and have chose to protect them. Additionally, by the end of Bioshock Infinite it is heavily implied that Elizabeth is Booker’s daughter which helps ties the two stories a bit closer together.
In the Oedipus Cycle, we see that Oedipus is fated to kill his father and marry his mother. No matter what his actions had been, Oedipus consequently kills his father. At the end of Bioshock Infinite, we see all the alternate universes of Booker and Elizabeth.
We see that the actions of Booker in all alternate universes have all lead him to a single point. Elizabeth, by the end of the game, mentions ‘constants and variables’ – that things will remain the same no matter what their actions may be.
It is simply a curiosity to wonder if Oedipus would have suffered the same fate if his actions were to have changed and if he were to act differently on his own accord, or would this all ultimately lead to the same destiny.