Oedipus rex

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2. OEDIPUS REX 3. Oedipus the King also known by the Latin title Oedipus Rex is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed c.429 BC. Oedipus Rex was the second of three of Sophocles plays that were produced, but, its the most famous of the three plays (Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus Rex, and Antigone). 4. Oedipus Rex is the story of Oedipus, a man who eventually becomes the king of Thebes who was destined from birth to murder his father (Laius) and marry his mother (Jocasta). The play is an example of a classic tragedy, noticeably containing an emphasis on how Oedipuss own faults contribute to the tragic heros downfall as opposed to having fate be the sole cause. Over the centuries, Oedipus Rex has come to be regarded by many as the Greek tragedy par excellence. 5. OEDIPUS REXAs a young teen Laius was a tutor to the King Pelops of Elis son Chrysippus raping him which then caused Chrysippus to commit suicide. This cast a doom over Laius and his descendants. Years later Laius becomes King of Thebes, where he learns from an oracle that he is doomed/to perish by the hand of his own son. Laius then binds the infants feet together with pins and order Jocasta (his wife) to kill the infant. Jocasta could not kill the infant so instead she orders a servant to. The servant/shepherd takes the baby to a mountain top to die from exposure. 6. OEDIPUS REXA shepherd rescues the infant and names him Oedipus (or swollen feet) (in some versions of the play the servant/shepherd directly hands the infant to the shepherd). The shepherd returns to Corinth with the infant, where the infant is raised by the childless King Polybus of Corinth and his wife Merope as if he were their own. 7. OEDIPUS REXAs a young man in Corinth Oedipus, hears a rumor that King Polybus and Merope are not his biological parents. When Oedipus confronted the king and queen of the rumor they denied it. Oedipus decides to ask an oracle if he rumor were true about the king and queen not being his biological parents. The oracle ignores his question, by telling him instead that he is destined to mate with (his) own mother, and shed/with (his) own hands the blood of (his) own sire. Desperate to avoid his foretold fate Oedipus leaves Corinth believing that Polybus and Merope are indeed his true parents and that once away from them, he will never harm them. 8. On the way to Thebes, Oedipus runs into Laius (Oedipus true father) with several other men. The two men were unaware who each other are when they started to fight over whose chariot had the right-of-way. King Laius started to strike Oedipus with his scepter, but Oedipus throws Laius from his chariot and kills him, therefore fulfilling part of the oracles prophecy. 9. OEDIPUS REXOedipus solves the riddle of the Sphinx who had placed a curse on the Kingdom of Thebes. Oedipus reward for freeing the kingdom of Thebes from the Sphinx curse is the kingship and the hand of Queen Dowager Jocasta, (his true mother). The prophecy is fulfilled, although none of the main characters know it yet 10. OEDIPUS REX Oedipus now vows to find the murderer of the former King (Laius) and curse him for them plague that he has caused on his kingdom. Oedipus calls for the help of a blind prophet named Tiresias. Tiresias refuses to help and advises Oedipus to abandon his search. Oedipus gets angry and assumes that Tiresias is an accomplice in the murder. Outraged, Tiresias tells the king that Oedipus himself is the murderer. Oedipus tells him to leave. As the prophet leaves he mutters 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. 11. OEDIPUS REX Jocasta comes in and attempts to comfort Oedipus, telling him he should take no notice of prophets. Many years ago I and Laius received an oracle which never came true, it was said that Laius would be killed by his own son, but, as all Thebes knows Laius was killed by bandits at a crossroads on the way to Delphi. Oedipus then asks Jocasta what did Laius look like? Jocasta fears that Tiresias accusations were true. Oedipus then sends for the one surviving witness of the attack to be brought tom the palace from the fields where he now works as a shepherd. Oedipus then tells Jocasta what he had been told as a young man about his parents and why he chose to leave Corinth and he came upon a crossroad and had a fight with a man and killed him. 12. OEDIPUS REXA messenger arrives from Corinth to give Oedipus the news that his father has died. Oedipus is ecstatic by the news assuming that he could have not killed his father leaving half of the prophecy unfulfilled. He still fears that he may somehow commit incest with his mother. The messenger, eager to ease Oedipus mind, tells him not to worry; because Merope was not in fact his real mother. Then the messenger tells Oedipus the story of how the King Polybus was given an infant on Mount Cithaeron by a shepherd from the Laius household who had been told to get rid of the child. Oedipus asks does anyone know of this man, or where he might be now? They respond that he is the same man you have sent for. Jocasta, now desperately begs Oedipus to stop asking questions, but he refuses and Jocasta runs into the palace 13. OEDIPUS REX The shepherd arrives Oedipus questions him, but he begs to leave without answering. Oedipus, then threatens to torture or execute him, then the shepherd tells him all. Everything is finally revealed and Oedipus curses himself and fate before leaving the stage. Jocasta has hung herself in the palace bedroom. Oedipus enters the palace in a rage calling for his servants to bring him a sword so that he might kill himself. He then comes upon Jocastas body he cries as he takes her down, he removes the long gold pins that held her dress together, before plunging them into his own eyes in despair. 14. OEDIPUS REXA blind Oedipus now exits the palace and begs to be exiled as soon as possible. Creon, Oedipus brother, then takes him back into the castle and waits to be consulted from the oracles deciding what is best to be done. Oedipus daughters (and half-sisters) Antigone and Ismene are sent out. Oedipus states that they should be born to such a cursed family. Greek maxim, that no man should be considered fortunate until he is dead. 15. REFERENCES Sophocles.Mulray,David(translator) (2011) Oedipus Rex pg. 24-32 Sophocles,-- E.H Plumptre (1991) Oedipus Rex pg. 1-15 www.wikipedia.org www.sparknotes.com www.oedipusrex.com