Do you know who Oedipus Rex was? He was Oedipus, King Thebes, supposed son of Plybos and Merope, King and Queen of Corinth. Married to Iokaste, Queen of Thebes she is the wife of the late King Laios. What would Oedipus learn about himself, the gods and truth? What influence would the gods have upon his life? Would his life be like a winding spiral staircase winding around until you reached the top? Would he be able to reach the top and stay there: or would his life spin out of control before his very eyes? Let us explore and see what the story reveals.
We find Oedipus as ruler of the Kingdom of Thebes; he seems to be very powerful and respected among his people. But there is curse of plague amongst the city. The people of Thebes come to ask Oedipus for help to find a way to cure the plaque.
Oedipus tells them that he has sent Kreon (Iokaste's brother) to Apollo's place of revelation to see what action Oedipus must take to save the city. Upon his return Kreon tells of what the forewarning was giving by the prophet, Oedipus tells Kreon to tell the revelation to people of Thebes in his presence. Kreon delivers the prediction that they are to banish the in purification that has been living amongst them, it is beyond cure. They are the one who brought plague and death to the city. He would be the murderer of the late King Laios.
Oedipus swears to seek out and avenge the people of Oedipus and find the evil one responsible for King Laios' death. He learns of that there was a witness to the attack on King Laios and his companions. But he was so frightened that he went away. Oedipus would send for this man, to learn the truth. He also, proclaimed that he would have revenge for his wife Iokaste, and the son she and Laios may have had. He would act for the son of Laios and all the grandfathers who name and right to the throne had died the day Laios was slain.
Oedipus sends for Teiresias (blind prophet); he tells Oedipus he wishes not to speak of what he knows, as the truth will not help. When Oedipus calls him coldhearted for not telling what he knows, this angers the prophet who in turn tells Oedipus that if he could only see the temperament of his own feelings. He tells Oedipus he himself is the man he seeks, for it is he who murdered Laios. Oedipus calls him ludicrous and orders for his removal. Teiresias continues to explain that the one they seek, is bother and father to his children, and that he is husband and son to the his wife who gave birth to him. Oedipus has him removed, thinking someone has set the blind prophet up to say such hideous things.
Oedipus turns on Kreon accusing him of conspiring with Teiresias to tell such lies; he implies Kreon wants to rule Thebes as King. Of course Kreon tells him he is insane. He was willing to accuse his best friend to save himself and not believe all the horrible things the blind prophet told him. Charogos tells Oedipus that Kreon would never betray him, and Oedipus tells him that is Kreon is not against him then the accusations that were made by the blind prophet would mean death or exile for him.
Oedipus tells Kreon to leave and that hatred would follow him, Kreon tells Oedipus that in his anger he has made and ugly mess of things, which seems to be what Oedipus does makes decisions when he is angry.
Iokaste asks her husband to tell her what has happened he does, he asks her to describe Laios, when she does he tells her he may himself be the guilty one he is in search of. He tells her of how one night a feast a drunken man told him he was not Polybos' son; he then confronted his parents who denied such nonsense. Yet he always had doubt in his mind. He went to Delphi to speak with the god who ignored his question. He spoke of other things like Oedipus would lie with his own mother and have children. That he would kill his own father, after hearing such unthinkable things he fled from Corinth and never saw his parents again. That is when he came upon Laios and his men attacked him so in retaliation he became an enraged and killed them all. He would send for the Shepard that witnessed the killings and if he were to testify that Oedipus was indeed the murderer he would then he is banished or punished by death. He would not want to live and know such horror he brought to the city of Thebes.
He learns from a messenger tells of the death of Polybos and that he indeed was not Oedipus' father. Now the Shepherd arrives and tells the story of how a baby was given to him to take to away so that the baby would not kill his own father when grown. He learned the baby was given by his wife Iokaste to the Shepherd. He had indeed learned the truth and cursed his birth, marriage, and the blood he had drawn by his own hands. He learned that Iokaste had taken her own life, and when he found her took the ornaments she wore on her dressed and gouged out his eyes condemning himself to darkness.
Kreon arrives and does as Oedipus asks he sends for his children, he says his goodbye and weeps, Kreon has the children removed and will have Oedipus exiled far from Thebes which is what he had requested Kreon do.
Overview of what Oedipus learned about himself, the gods, and truth. Oedipus ignored when the gods told him that he would lie with his mother and have children, that he would kill is own father. Instead he chose to run away from it, if only he would have listened closely and acted with more attention instead of making decision in a rage of anger things would have turned out differently. Instead of killing his father and his companions, he could have just gone on his way. Now he chose to strike out in anger killing them all. Just as he ran away from the parents who raised him, he should have listened to them if he had he would never have ran into Laios at the three way road. He would never have married his mother and had children with her. He learned even though we see with our eyes we are blind to what we hear. He learned that the woman he had married started this reign of disaster; he learned this through his usual drive to get results. Maybe if his mother and father would have believed more in faith such as love and caring for him instead of giving him away all of their destinies would have ended differently.
Bibliography Sophocles - Oedipus Rex -Legacies (Book) Heinle part of Thomson Learning (2002)