Oedipus at Colonus - Summary and analysis of Section 1

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"XAfter years of wandering in exile from Thebes, Oedipus arrives in a grove outside Athens.

"XBlind and frail, he walks with the help of his daughter, Antigone.

"XThe grove in which they sit bears the marks of holy ground.

"XA citizen of Colonus approaches and insists that the ground is forbidden to mortals and that Oedipus and Antigone must leave.

"XOedipus tells Antigone, that earlier in his life, when Apollo's oracle prophesied his doom, the god declared that Oedipus would die on this ground.

"XThe Chorus enters, convincing Antigone and Oedipus to move to the side of the grove, and then interrogates Oedipus about his origins.

"XWhen the Chorus finds out, it begs him to leave.

"XOedipus tells the Chorus that the city may benefit greatly if it does not drive him away.

"XIsmene, Oedipus's second daughter, comes to meet her father and bears him the news that Eteocles, the younger son of Oedipus, has overthrown Polynices, his elder son.

"XThe oracle had predicted that Oedipus's burial place will bring good fortune to the city in which it is located.


"XOedipus has changed his perspective on his exile.

"XFirst, he has decided that he was not responsible for his fate, though at the end of the previous play Oedipus proudly claimed responsibility for his actions, blinding himself and begging for exile.

"XOedipus has also declared that his sons should have prevented his exile.

"XOedipus may simply be a broken man making excuses, or perhaps his many years of wandering have imbued him with a new kind of wisdom.

"XAlthough Oedipus seems to have traded his former pride and disdain for kindness, the scene that opens the play creates a puzzling contradiction.

"XThe trespass must be rectified with liberation and with prayers, and it is. At the...