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Thank you! Immediately, Oedipus threatens his brother-in-law, calling him a traitor and plotting against him. In defense, Creon asks if he is to be banished. She responds that he should not concern himself with the matter and tells him of the prophecy of the oracle and the death of her husband. With his curiosity aroused, Oedipus asks about the murder: How long ago was it? What did he look like?

How old was he? She tells him of the only survivor, an old servant who was sent away. Oedipus asks to speak to the old man, and if their stories are the same, he will be free of any guilt.

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  • Oedipus then relates the story of his own departure from Corinth. He had been called a bastard at a dinner party held by his parents, the king and queen. Although his parents denied the accusation, he soon learned that a prophecy fated him to murder his father and lie with his mother. To avoid fulfilling the prophecy, he fled the city only to come to a crossroads where he encountered a carriage. Am I not utterly unclean?


    A messenger arrives to tell Oedipus that his father, the king of Corinth is dead. Oedipus realizes that the old prophecy was wrong. However, he is confused and not completely relieved, still fearing that the prophecy may be proven to be true. Oedipus realized that this shepherd was the same man who had been sent away by Jocasta.

    CliffsNotes on Sophocles' Oedipus Trilogy | HMH Books

    The old herdsman arrives to speak to Oedipus. After the king pressures him, he reluctantly relates the story of how he had pitied the baby that came from the house of Laius and given it to the messenger. Speaking to the chorus, a second messenger arrives and tells that the audience that Jocasta is dead; she had committed suicide. When Oedipus enters her room, he finds her hanging with a twisted rope around her neck. He tore the brooches from her robe and stabbed himself in his eyes, repeatedly. Creon comes to him but not to laugh, only to ask what he could do. Oedipus the King was not only staged throughout antiquity but is still performed to this day and is required reading in many schools.

    It survived as the model for plays by such noted authors as Seneca, Dryden, and Voltaire.

    Fate, Family, and Oedipus Rex: Crash Course Literature 202

    Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers. Become a Member. Wasson, D. Oedipus the King. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Wasson, Donald L. Last modified January 24, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 24 Jan Written by Donald L. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.

    Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Wasson published on 24 January Remove Ads Advertisement.

    Bibliography Gochberg, D. Classics of Western Thought Vol. Grene, D. University of Chicago, Hamilton, E.

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    The Greek Way. Hornblower, S. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press, Martin, T.

    Plays of Sophocles: Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone by Sophocles

    Ancient Greece. Yale University Press, Roche, P. The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles.