Throughout this mythic story of patricide and incest, Sophocles emphasizes the irony of a man determined to track down, expose, and punish an assassin, who turns out to be himself. As the play opens, the citizens of Thebes beg their king, Oedipus, to lift the plague that threatens to destroy the city.
However, neither she nor her servant could bring themselves to kill him and he was abandoned to elements.
There he was found and brought up by a shepherd, before being taken in and raised in the court of the childless King Polybus of Corinth as if he were his own son. Stung by rumours that he was not the biological son of the king, Oedipus consulted an oracle which foretold that he would marry his own mother and kill his own father.
Desperate to avoid this foretold fate, and believing Polybus and Merope to be his true parents, Oedipus left Corinth. The prophecy was thus fulfilled, although none of the main characters were aware of it at this point.
|SparkNotes: The Oedipus Plays||He, who read the famous riddle, and we hailed chief of men, All envied his power, glory, and good fortune.|
|Keep Exploring Britannica||Only seven of his plays, of some attributed to him, survive.|
|Life and career||The Folk Tale We don't know whether there was a historical Oedipus.|
As the play opens, a priest and the Chorus of Theban elders are calling on King Oedipus to aid them with the plague which has been sent by Apollo to ravage the city. Oedipus has already sent Creonhis brother-in-law, to consult the oracle at A review of sophocles drama king oedipus on the matter, and when Creon returns at that very moment, he reports that the plague will only end when the murderer of their former king, Laius, is caught and brought to justice.
Oedipus vows to find the murderer and curses him for the plague that he has caused. He advises Oedipus to abandon his search but, when the enraged Oedipus accuses Tiresias of complicity in the murder, Tiresias is provoked into telling the king the truth, that he himself is the murderer.
Oedipus dismisses this as nonsense, accusing the prophet of being corrupted by the ambitious Creon in an attempt to undermine him, and Tiresias leaves, putting forth one last riddle: Oedipus demands that Creon be executed, convinced that he is conspiring against him, and only the intervention of the Chorus persuades him to let Creon live.
This prophecy said that Laius would be killed by his own son but, as everyone knows, Laius was actually killed by bandits at a crossroads on the way to Delphi. When a messenger from Corinth arrives with news of the death of King Polybus, Oedipus shocks everyone with his apparent happiness at the news, as he sees this as proof that he can never kill his father, although he still fears that he may somehow commit incest with his mother.
The messenger turns out to be the very shepherd who had looked after an abandoned child, which he later took to Corinth and gave up to King Polybus for adoption. He is also the very same shepherd who witnessed the murder of Laius. By now, Jocasta is beginning to realize the truth, and desperately begs Oedipus to stop asking questions.
With all now finally revealed, Oedipus curses himself and his tragic destiny and stumbles off, as the Chorus laments how even a great man can be felled by fate.
A servant enters and explains that Jocastawhen she had begun to suspect the truth, had ran to the palace bedroom and hanged herself there. In final despair, Oedipus takes two long gold pins from her dress, and plunges them into his own eyes. Now blind, Oedipus begs to be exiled as soon as possible, and asks Creon to look after his two daughters, Antigone and Ismenelamenting that they should have been born into such a cursed family.
Creon counsels that Oedipus should be kept in the palace until oracles can be consulted regarding what is best to be done, and the play ends as the Chorus wails: Analysis Back to Top of Page The play follows one chapter the most dramatic one in the life of OedipusKing of Thebes, who lived about a generation before the events of the Trojan War, namely his gradual realization that he has killed his own father, Laius, and committed incest with his own mother, Jocasta.
It assumes a certain amount of background knowledge of his story, which Greek audiences would have known well, although much of the background is also explained as the action unfolds.
Each of the incidents in the play is part of a tightly constructed cause-and-effect chain, assembled together as an investigation of the past, and the play is considered a marvel of plot structure.
Part of the tremendous sense of inevitability and fate in the play stems from the fact that all the irrational things have already occurred and are therefore unalterable.
The main themes of the play are: Resources English translation by F. Storr Internet Classics Archive:From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes The Oedipus Plays Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.
Oedipus Rex, also known by its Greek title, Oedipus Tyrannus (Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους Τύραννος), or Oedipus the King, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed around BC/5. Antigone (/ æ n ˈ t ɪ ɡ ə n i / ann-TIG-ə-nee; Ancient Greek: Ἀντιγόνη) is a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before BC..
Of the three Theban plays Antigone is the third in order of the events depicted in the plays, but it is the first that was written. The play expands on the Theban legend that predates it, and it picks up where Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes ends.
The story of Oedipus the King (or Oedipus Rex), is a Theban play written by Sophocles, one of the three ancient Greek Tragedians whose work as survived.
Enjoying "Oedipus the King", by Sophocles Ed Friedlander MD [email protected] This website collects no information. If you e-mail me, neither your e-mail address nor any other information will ever be passed on to any third party, unless required by law.
A basic level guide to some of the best known and loved works of prose, poetry and drama from ancient Greece - Oedipus the King by Sophocles.