Oedipus The King

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Oedipus Rex

Text of Oedipus The King

  • 1.Oedipus the King by Sophocles Prepared by Dr. Arlene Salve Opina(arlene5162@yahoo.com)

2. Two Daughters Antigone

  • Antigone,
  • Ismene
  • They were both two extraordinary women that went through a lot together despite their differences.
  • Antigone & Ismene

3. Two Sons

  • Eteocles and Polyneices

The princes who had refused to share their inheritance shared death instead 4. Background

  • The main character of thetragedyisOedipus , son of KingLaiusofThebesand QueenJocasta .
  • After Laius learned from an oracle that "he was doomed/To perish by the hand of his own son," Jocasta ordered a messenger to leave him for dead "In Cithaeron's wooded glens";
  • Instead, the baby was given to ashepherdand raised in the court of KingPolybusofCorinth .
  • When Oedipus grew up, he learned from the oracle,Loxias , that he was destined to "Mate with [his] own mother, and shed/ With [his] own hands the blood of [his] own sire,
  • left Corinth under the belief that Polybus and Merope, were his true parents.
  • On the road toThebes , he met Laius and they argued over which wagon had the right-of-way.


  • Oedipus' pride led him to kill Laius, ignorant of the fact that he was his biological father, fulfilling part of the oracle's prophecy.
  • Oedipus then went on to solve theSphinx 'sriddle : "What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?" To this Oedipus answered "Man,
  • Distraught that her riddle had been answered correctly, the Sphinx threw herself off the side of the wall.
  • His reward for freeing the kingdom of Thebes from the Sphinx'scursewas kingship and the hand of thequeen , Jocasta, who was also his biological mother.
  • Thus, the prophecy was fulfilled.

6. Plot

  • The play begins years after Oedipus is given the throne of Thebes.
  • The chorus of Thebans cries out to Oedipus for salvation from theplaguesent by the gods.
  • He ordered Creon, brother of Jocasta to ask about the cause of the plague at Delphi.
  • In his return, Creon announced that the plague was caused by the unresolved murder of the former King, Laius.

7. Plot

  • Throughout the play, Oedipus searches for Laius' murderer and promises to exile the man responsible for it, ignorant of the fact that he is the murderer.


  • The blind prophet,Teiresias , is called to aid Oedipus in his search; however, after warning Oedipus not to follow through with the investigation, Oedipus accuses him of being the murderer, even though Teiresias is blind and aged. Oedipus also accuses Teiresias of conspiring withCreon , Jocasta's brother, to overthrow him.


  • Oedipus then calls for one of Laius' former servants, the only surviving witness of the murder, who fled the city when Oedipus became king to avoid being the one to reveal the truth.


  • Soon a messenger from Corinth also arrives to inform Oedipus of the death of Polybus, whom Oedipus still believes is his real father. At this point the messenger informs him that he was in fact adopted and his real parentage is unknown.


  • In the subsequent discussions between Oedipus, Jocasta, the servant, and the messenger, Jocasta guesses the truth and runs away.


  • Oedipus is stubborn; however, a second messenger arrives and reveals that Jocasta has hanged herself.


  • Oedipus, upon discovering her body, blinds himself with the goldenbroocheson her dress.

14. Blinding himself 15.

  • The play ends with Oedipus entrusting his children to Creon and leaving in exile, as he promised would be the fate of Laius' murderer.

16. Oedipus & sphinx 17. Prophecy inOedipus the King

  • There are two major prophecies in Oedipus. The most well known was given toOedipusshortly before he left Corinth:
  • Aye, 'tis no secret. Apollo once foretold That I should mate with mine own mother, and shed With my own hands the blood of my own sire. Hence Corinth was for many a year to me. A home distant; and I trove abroad, But missed the sweetest sight, my parents' face.
  • Later in the play, Jocasta relates the prophecy that was told to Laius before the birth of Oedipus.Laiuswas only told of the incipientparricideand not of the incest:
  • An oracle Once came to Laius (I will not say 'Twas from the Delphic god himself, but from His ministers) declaring he was doomed to perish by the hand of his own son, A child that should be born to him by me.

18. Apollo

  • Apollo, the Sun god, brings life-giving heat and light to Earth.
  • As patron god of musicians and poets, he carries a lyre and his symbol represents the egg of creation.
  • He is considered the ideal of manly beauty, so that a very handsome man might be called an Apollo. He is also the god of poetry and music.
  • Hymns sung to Apollo were calledpaeans .
  • Apollo is son ofZeusandLeto , and thetwinbrother of the chaste huntressArtemis , who tookthe place ofSelenein some myths as goddess of the moon.

19. Apollo

  • In Greek and Roman Mythology, Apollo, (a beardless youth), was the archer-god of medicine and healing, light, truth, archery and also a bringer of death-dealingplague .
  • He was a mortal medical healer who was so successful that he was reputed to have the ability to bring the dead back to life; which resulted in complaints by Hades.
  • As a result, to keep peace in the godly family, Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt.
  • After his death, he was also placed among the constellations, where he is pictured as a man holding a serpent in his hands .

20. Temple of Apollo 21. Delphi

  • Delphi is perhaps best-known for the oracle at the sanctuary that became dedicated to Apollo during the classical period.
  • Delphi was a major site for the worship of the godApollo .
  • Delphi became the site of a major temple toPhoebus Apollo , as well as thePythian Gamesand the famous prehistoric oracle.
  • His sacred precinct in Delphi was a Panhellenic sanctuary, where every four years athletes from all over the Greek world competed in thePythian Games .
  • Delphi was revered throughout the Greek world as the site of theomphalosstone, the centre of theearthand the universe.
  • In the innerhestia("hearth") of the Temple of Apollo, aneternal flameburned.

22. Oracle

  • The oracle of Delphi never predicted the future, but gave guarded advice on how impiety might be cleansed and incumbent disaster avoided
  • H.W. Parke writes that the foundation of Delphi and its oracle took place before the times of recorded history and its origins are obscure, but dating to the worship of theGreat Goddess ,Gaia .
  • The Oracle exerted considerable influence throughout the Greek world, and she was consulted before all major undertakings: wars, the founding of colonies, and so forth. She also was respected by the semi-Hellenic countries around the Greek world, such asLydia ,Caria , and evenEgypt .

23. Pythia

  • The priestess of the oracle at Delphi was known as thePythia . Apollo spoke through his oracle, who had to be an older woman of blameless life chosen from among the peasants of the area.
  • The sybyl or prophetess took the name Pythia and sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth.
  • Pythonwas an earth spirit, who was conquered by Apollo, and buried under theOmphalos , and that it is a case of one deity setting up a temple on the grave of another.
  • When Apollo slew Python, its body fell into this fissure, according to legend, and fumes arose from its decomposing body. Intoxicated by the vapors, the sibyl would fall into trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit. In this state she prophesied.
  • She spoke in riddles, which were interpreted by the priests of the temple, and people consulted her on everything from important matters of public policy to personal affairs.

24. Delphic oracle Delphic Pythia sitting on a tripod, attended by a supplicant. Note the low ceiling that causes the Delphic oracle to stoop, the hollow floor and the barrier that separates Pythia from the supplicant. 25. View of the stadium of the Delphi sanctuary, used for thePythian Games . The stone steps on the right were added under the Romans. 26. Epithets

  • nameDelphoiis connected with " hollow " or " womb
  • Apollo is connected with the site by hisepithet Delphinios , "the Delphinian", i.e. either "the one of Delphi", or "the one of the womb".
  • The epithet is connected withdolphins(the "womb-fish") in theHomericHymn to Apollo(line 400), telling how Apollo first came to Delphi in the shape of a dolphin, carryingCretanpriests on his back.

a descriptive word or phrase added to or substituted for the name of somebody or something, highlighting a feature or quality 27. Legends

  • A legend held that Apollo walked to Delphi from the north and stopped atTempe , a city inThessalyto pick laurel, a plant sacred to him (generally known in English as the bay tree).
  • In commemoration of this legend, th