Of Turin, Macbeth & Oedipus

The story of Turin Turambar is not unlike the story of Macbeth or Oedipus Rex.  Turin and his family are supposedly cursed by Morgoth.  Turin, Morwen and Nienor live their lives in an effort to reject this curse, to keep it from happening.  And yet, everything they do, in the end, leads to their own destruction.  Morgoth’s curse, in the end, needs little help of his own.  It is fullfilled through Turin’s pride; his refusal to use caution.  Every moment, he has complete and utter trust in his own infallibility.  He spends his entire life feeling unrightly oppressed and scorned.  This is his downfall.  Each of his sorrows is of his own making.  Granted, Morgoth holds his father, Glaurung magicked his sister, his mother is lost in the wilderness…but his pain originates and multiplies in his pride.

The same is true for Macbeth.  When he hears the profesies of the witches, he does not trust to fate; he acts to control his fate.  In his attempts to keep his power, he murders Macduff’s family, most likely inciting his own destruction.

For Oedipus Rex, the same themes hold true.  His parents, upon hearing that their son will kill the father and marry the mother leave him to die of exposure.  Even this effort is thwarted.  Oedipus lives to meet his father on the road and kill him and then go on to marry his mother.

What would have happened if these characters had let things be?  If they had trusted to fate?  For all three, tragedy probably could have been avoided.  It is in their attempts to make or prevent some event that they lose control.  Turin’s epitaph is telling: ‘Turin master of doom by doom mastered.’ 

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