Orphaned by the age of four his mother died in and his father inhe came into the care of his grandparents.
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Many parts or elements of the myth of Oedipus occur before the opening scene of the play, although some are alluded to in the text. Oedipus is the son of Laius and Jocastathe king and queen of Thebes.
The misfortunes of his house are the result of a curse laid upon his father for violating the sacred laws of hospitality. Laius seduced or abducted and raped Chrysippus, who according to some versions, killed himself in shame. When his son is born, the king consults an oracle as to his fortune.
To his horror, the oracle reveals that Laius "is doomed to perish by the hand of his own son". Unable to kill her own son, Jocasta orders a servant to slay the infant for her.
The servant then exposes the infant on a mountaintop, where he is found and rescued by a shepherd in some versions, the servant gives the infant to the shepherd. The shepherd names the child Oedipus"swollen feet", as his feet had been tightly bound by Laius.
The shepherd brings the infant to Corinthand presents him to the childless king Polybuswho raises Oedipus as his own son. As he grows to manhood, Oedipus hears a rumour that he is not truly the son of Polybus and his wife, Merope.
He asks the Delphic Oracle who his parents really are.
Desperate to avoid this terrible fate, Oedipus, who still believes that Polybus and Merope are his true parents, leaves Corinth for the city of Thebes. On the road to Thebes, Oedipus encounters Laius and his retainers, and the two quarrel over whose chariot has the right of way.
The Theban king moves to strike the insolent youth with his sceptre, but Oedipus, unaware that Laius is his true father, throws the old man down from his chariot, killing him.
Thus, Laius is slain by his own son, and the prophecy that the king had sought to avoid by exposing Oedipus at birth is fulfilled. Before arriving at Thebes, Oedipus encounters the Sphinxa legendary beast with the head and breast of a woman, the body of a lioness, and the wings of an eagle.
The Sphinx was sent to the road approaching Thebes as a punishment from the gods, and would strangle any traveler who failed to answer a certain riddle.
The precise riddle asked by the Sphinx varied in early traditions, and is not stated in Oedipus Rex, as the event precedes the play; but the most widely-known version is, "what is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?
Bested by the prince, the Sphinx throws herself from a cliff, thereby ending the curse. Plot[ edit ] P. Oedipus, King of Thebes, sends his brother-in-law, Creon, to ask advice of the oracle at Delphiconcerning a plague ravaging Thebes.
Creon returns to report that the plague is the result of religious pollution, since the murderer of their former king, Laiushas never been caught.
Oedipus vows to find the murderer and curses him for causing the plague. Oedipus summons the blind prophet Tiresias for help. Outraged, Tiresias tells the king that Oedipus himself is the murderer "You yourself are the criminal you seek".
Oedipus cannot see how this could be, and concludes that the prophet must have been paid off by Creon in an attempt to undermine him. Eventually Tiresias leaves, muttering darkly that when the murderer is discovered he shall be a native citizen of Thebes, brother and father to his own children, and son and husband to his own mother.
The King demands that Creon be executed; however, the chorus persuades him to let Creon live. Jocasta enters and attempts to comfort Oedipus, telling him he should take no notice of prophets. As proof, she recounts an incident in which she and Laius received an oracle which never came true.
The prophecy stated that Laius would be killed by his own son; however, Jocasta reassures Oedipus by her statement that Laius was killed by bandits at a crossroads on the way to Delphi. The mention of this crossroads causes Oedipus to pause and ask for more details. Oedipus then sends for the one surviving witness of the attack to be brought to the palace from the fields where he now works as a shepherd.
Jocasta, confused, asks Oedipus what the matter is, and he tells her. Oedipus went to Delphi and asked the oracle about his parentage. Instead of answers he was given a prophecy that he would one day murder his father and sleep with his mother.
Upon hearing this he resolved to leave Corinth and never return. While traveling he came to the very crossroads where Laius was killed, and encountered a carriage which attempted to drive him off the road.Course Summary This Mythology Study Guide course helps you review mythological concepts to prepare yourself for a classroom assignment or exam.
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We have now placed Twitpic in an archived state. “Oedipus the King” is structured as a prologue and five episodes, each introduced by a choral ode. 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.
Oedipus the King, lines 1– Summary. Oedipus steps out of the royal palace of Thebes and is greeted by a procession of priests, who are in turn surrounded by the impoverished and sorrowful citizens of Thebes. The citizens carry branches wrapped in wool, which they offer to the gods as gifts.
Plot and episode summary of the 'Oedipus Tyrannos' play by Sophocles. Oedipus Tyrannos' play by Sophocles.
Plot Summary of the Episodes and Stasima of "Oedipus Tyrannos," by Sophocles. Search the site GO. History & Culture.
Ancient History & Culture He then says the baby is now King Oedipus. The Theban curses him. Oedipus scolds the old. Dramatis Personae OEDIPUS THE PRIEST OF ZEUS CREON CHORUS OF THEBAN ELDERS TEIRESIAS JOCASTA MESSENGER HERD OF LAIUS Scene Thebes. Before the Palace of Oedipus.