Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Examples

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Sometimes our strong beliefs or opinions about how a situation will turn out cause us to act in a way that leads to the outcome we feared. This is called self-fulfilling prophecy. Characters in literature can experience self-fulfilling prophecies as well.

Examples of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:

You believe that you will gain weight during the holidays. So, when you encounter trays full of sweats and food at holiday parties, you eat more than you normally would-believing that it is just unavoidable.

Your mother makes you go to a family reunion. You just know that it will be boring and awful. The entire time that you are there, you don't interact with anyone. Instead, you sit in the corner and think of something you would rather be doing. You have made sure that the event is boring and awful.

Examples of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies in Literature

One of the most famous examples of self-fulfilling prophecies is from Oedipus Rex. Oedipus' parents attempt to avoid a prophecy that their son will kill his father, so they abandon him. But, he one day does kill his father-unknowingly. It is also prophesied that Oedipus will marry his own mother-which also happens because of the actions of characters attempting to avoid this fate.

In Harry Potter, Voldemort hears about a baby boy who will have the power to destroy him. There are two possible baby boys-Harry and Neville. Voldemort attempts to kill Harry as a baby, but his mother gives her life to protect him, which gives Harry powers that he might not have had otherwise.

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