"Oedipus the king" summary

Essay by volakis April 2006

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Oedipus former King of Thebes - Tragedy runs in the family

Here is a quick re-cap of the tragic life of the former king.

An oracle prophesied to Laius, the king of Thebes, that he would be killed by his son and that his son would marry his mother. Shocked by such a prophesy, the king and queen left their first son to die on a mountain, however the baby was found by a passing Shepard. The poor infant's feet were dreadfully pierced and tied together, this is how he come with the Oedipus, meaning deformity. The Shepard taking pity on him took him to Corinth where he was adopted by King Polybus.

When he was grown, Oedipus heard by chance that he was not Polybus's son, and he went to confirm with an oracle. The oracle did not answer his question, but prophesied that he would kill his father and marry his mother.

Thinking the prophecy referred to his foster parents, he decided not to return to Corinth. Leaving Delphi (where the oracle is), he came upon a man at a crossroads with four attendants who tried to force him from his path. The man, none other than King Laius, nudged him with his stick and Oedipus, arrogant and quick to anger, killed him and three of the attendants while the fourth escaped.

At the same time Thebes was having such problems with a Sphinx. The Sphinx stood on a rock outside the gates and ate everyone who failed to solve her riddle: "What creature walks on four feet in the morning, on two at noon and on three in the evening? "Oedipus solved the riddle and the Sphinx hurled herself to her death on the rocks below.

Oedipus was welcomed as a savior and...