Wednesday 28 May 2014


Oedipus and the Sphinx
       Oedipus was described as a tragic hero in Greek mythology. He was the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes.  King Laius received an oracle from Delphi which told him that he must not have a child with his wife, or the child would kill him and marry her. According to other version, Laius is warned that he can only save the city if he dies childless. One night, however, Laius became drunk and had sex Jocasta. Accordingly, when Jocasta, bore a son, Laius exposed the baby on Mt. Cithaeron, first pinning his ankles together (hence the name Oedipus, meaning Swell-Foot). A shepherd took pity on the infant, who was adopted by King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth, and was brought up as their son.

                                                           In early manhood Oedipus visited Delphi and upon learning that he was fated to kill his father and marry his mother, he resolved never to return to Corinth. Traveling toward Thebes, Oedipus met an older man in a chariot coming the other way on a narrow road. The two quarreled over who should give way, which resulted in Oedipus killing the stranger and continuing on to Thebes. He found that the king of the city (Laius) had been recently killed and that the city was at the mercy of the Sphinx. The Sphinx, who put a riddle to all passersby and destroyed those who could not answer. Oedipus solved the riddle, and the Sphinx killed herself. In reward, he received the throne of Thebes and the hand of the widowed queen, his mother, Jocasta. They had four children: Eteocles, Polyneices, Antigone, and Ismene.
Oedipus and Jocasta

                   Many years later, plague strikes the city of Thebes. The people suffer and die. A priest ventures to the palace of Thebes, to the court of King Oedipus and Queen Jocasta. Begging for Oedipus to save the Theban people once again,  Oedipus expresses sorrow for the lot of the people, and reveals he had already sent his brother-in-law, Creon, to the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi to determine  how they are to be rid of this pestilence.  Creon returns and reveals that Apollo demands that the killer of King Laius, who was murdered shortly before Oedipus's arrival, be brought to justice. 
Oedipus and Antigone

                                                   In his search to determine who killed Laius, Oedipus discovered it was he who had killed the late king (his father). Jocasta, upon realizing that she had married her own son and Laius's murderer, hanged herself. Oedipus then seized two pins from her dress and blinded himself with them. Oedipus was driven into exile, accompanied by Antigone and Ismene. After years of wandering, he arrived in Athens, where he found refuge in a grove of trees called Colonus. By this time, warring factions in Thebes wished him to return to that city, believing that his body would bring it luck. However, Oedipus died at Colonus, and the presence of his grave there was said to bring good fortune to Athens.


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