➊ Define Self-fulfilling Prophecy

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Define Self-fulfilling Prophecy

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You Become What You Think About - Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

While the term is applicable to both positive and negative situations, here we can already see that in its origins it describes a falsity, a thing untrue, which hints at its most common usage to explain downward trajectories. The most oft-cited example of a self-fulfilling prophecy in literature is that of Oedipus, the Greek king. When Oedipus was born, the Oracle of Delphi proclaimed that he would grow up to kill his own father and marry his mother. Horrified, his father abandoned him to die. Instead, he of course grew up to do exactly what was prophesized. Here we have an example of individuals bending to fate to make a prophecy come true—had Oedipus grown up with the knowledge of who his true parents were, he would likely have stayed away instead of racing toward his destiny.

If you believe that the price of a stock will go down, you might be tempted to sell. This action, of course, would contribute directly to the price of that stock going down. In other words, your forecast of a trend could directly ignite that trend, even if there was no such trend to begin with. Due to the recent financial crisis the bank has experienced financial difficulties. This created an insolvency situation at the bank and caused it to cease its operations.

The declaration made by the CEO became a sell fulfilling prophecy and it was the trigger that caused the debacle. In some, he accidentally spears his grandfather at a competition—an act that could have happened regardless of Acrisius 's response to the prophecy. In other variants, his presence at the games is explained by his hearing of the prophecy, so that his attempt to evade it does cause the prophecy to be fulfilled. Greek historiography provides a famous variant: when the Lydian king Croesus asked the Delphic Oracle if he should invade Persia, the response came that if he did, he would destroy a great kingdom.

Assuming this meant he would succeed, he attacked—but the kingdom he destroyed was his own. People do not necessarily have to unsuccessfully avoid a prophecy in order for the prophecy to be self-fulfilling. For example, when it was predicted that Zeus would overthrow his father, Cronos , and usurp his throne as King of the Gods, he actively waged war against him in a direct attempt to fulfill this prophecy. This makes the prophecy a self-fulfilling one because it was the prophecy itself that gave Zeus the inspiration to do it in the first place. Self-fulfilling prophecies appear in classical Sanskrit literature. In the story of Krishna in the Indian epic Mahabharata , the ruler of the Mathura kingdom, Kamsa afraid of a prophecy that predicted his death at the hands of his sister Devaki 's son, had her cast into prison where he planned to kill all of her children at birth.

After killing the first six children, and Devaki's apparent miscarriage of the seventh, Krishna the eighth son took birth. As his life was in danger he was smuggled out to be raised by his foster parents Yashoda and Nanda in the village of Gokula. Years later, Kamsa learned about the child's escape and kept sending various demons to put an end to him. The demons were defeated at the hands of Krishna and his brother Balarama. Krishna as a young man returned to Mathura to overthrow his uncle, and Kamsa was eventually killed by his nephew Krishna. It was due to Kamsa's attempts to prevent the prophecy that led to it coming true, thus fulfilling the prophecy.

The story of Romulus and Remus is another example. According to legend, a man overthrew his brother, the king. He then ordered that his two nephews, Romulus and Remus, be drowned, fearing that they would someday kill him like he did to his brother. The boys were placed in a basket and thrown in the Tiber River. A wolf found the babies and she raised them. Later, a shepherd found the twins and named them Romulus and Remus.

As teenagers, they found out who they were. They killed their uncle, fulfilling the prophecy. A variation of the self-fulfilling prophecy is the self-fulfilling dream, which dates back to medieval Arabic literature. Several tales in the One Thousand and One Nights , also known as the Arabian Nights , use this device to foreshadow what is going to happen, as a special form of literary prolepsis. A notable example is " The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through a Dream ", in which a man is told in his dream to leave his native city of Baghdad and travel to Cairo , where he will discover the whereabouts of some hidden treasure. The man travels there and experiences misfortune after losing belief in the prophecy, ending up in jail, where he tells his dream to a police officer.

The officer mocks the idea of foreboding dreams but takes quiet note of the prisoner's dream. The officer convinces the prisoner that to follow your dreams is fool hardy, in which he agrees and returns to Baghdad. The officer returns home and discovers great treasures buried underneath his home. This is a story of what would have been had the man followed through on his self-fulfilling prophecy and ignored naysayers.

A variant of this story later appears in English folklore as the " Pedlar of Swaffham ". Another variation of the self-fulfilling prophecy can be seen in " The Tale of Attaf ", where Harun al-Rashid consults his library the House of Wisdom , reads a random book, "falls to laughing and weeping and dismisses the faithful vizier " Ja'far ibn Yahya from sight. Ja'far, "disturbed and upset flees Baghdad and plunges into a series of adventures in Damascus , involving Attaf and the woman whom Attaf eventually marries. In other words, it was Harun's reading of the book that provoked the adventures described in the book to take place. This is an early example of reverse causality. In the 14th century, a version of this tale also appears in the Gesta Romanorum and Giovanni Boccaccio 's The Decameron.

The girl's father's efforts to prevent it are the reason why the boy ends up marrying her. Another fairy tale occurs with older children. In The Language of the Birds , a father forces his son to tell him what the birds say: that the father would be the son's servant. In The Ram , the father forces his daughter to tell him her dream: that her father would hold an ewer for her to wash her hands in. In all such tales, the father takes the child's response as evidence of ill-will and drives the child off; this allows the child to change so that the father will not recognize his own offspring later and so offer to act as the child's servant.

In some variants of Sleeping Beauty , such as Sun, Moon, and Talia , the sleep is not brought about by a curse, but a prophecy that she will be endangered by flax or hemp results in the royal order to remove all the flax or hemp from the castle, resulting in her ignorance of the danger and her curiosity. Shakespeare 's Macbeth is another classic example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The three witches give Macbeth a prophecy that Macbeth will eventually become king, but afterwards, the offspring of his best friend will rule instead of his own.

Macbeth tries to make the first half true while trying to keep his bloodline on the throne instead of his friend's. Spurred by the prophecy, he kills the king and his friend, something he never would have done before. In the end, the evil actions he committed to avoid his succession by another's bloodline get him killed in a revolution. The later prophecy by the first apparition of the witches that Macbeth should "Beware Macduff" is also a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Macbeth had not been told this, then he might not have regarded Macduff as a threat. Therefore he would not have killed Macduff's family, and Macduff would not have sought revenge and killed Macbeth. Oleg of Novgorod was a Varangian prince who ruled of the Rus people during the early tenth century.

As old East Slavic chronicles say it was prophesied by the pagan priests that Oleg would take death from his stallion. To avoid this he sent the horse away. Many years later he asked where his horse was, and was told it had died. He asked to see the remains and was taken to the place where the bones lay. When he touched the horse's skull with his boot a snake slithered from the skull and bit him. Oleg died, thus fulfilling the prophecy. In the Primary Chronicle , Oleg is known as the Prophet, ironically referring to the circumstances of his death. In Scandinavian tradition s, this legend lived on in the saga of Orvar-Odd.

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