This, however, is not an entirely accurate reading. However, after consulting the Oracle this uncertainty disappears, strangely enough, and is replaced by a totally unjustified certainty that he is the son of Merope and Polybus.
Aware that a terrible curse has befallen Thebes, he sends his brother-in-law, Creon, to seek the advice of Apollo. Jocasta begs Oedipus to abandon his search for his origins, but Oedipus insists he must know the story of his birth.
Oedipus sends for the man who survived the attack, a shepherd, in the hope that he will not be identified as the murderer. Tiresias responds cryptically, lamenting his ability to see the truth when the truth brings nothing but pain.
Asked to help find the murderer, Teiresias, the ancient, blind seer of Thebes, tells Oedipus that it would be better for all if he does not tell what he knows. The idea that attempting to avoid an oracle is the very thing which brings it about is a common motif in many Greek myths, and similarities to Oedipus can for example be seen in the myth of the birth of Perseus.
Just as the messenger finishes his story, Antigone and Ismene come onstage, chanting a dirge. Tiresias advises that Creon allow Polynices to be buried, but Creon refuses.
In fact, the messenger himself gave Oedipus to the royal couple when a shepherd offered him an abandoned baby from the house of Laius. On an empty stage the chorus repeat the common Greek maximthat no man should be considered fortunate until he is dead.
Oedipus swears he will never give his support to either of his sons, for they did nothing to prevent his exile years ago.
Creon asks him his opinion on the issue. It is the fate of all of us, perhaps, to direct our first sexual impulse towards our mother and our first hatred and our first murderous wish against our father. The chorus laments how even a great man can be felled by fate, and following this, a servant exits the palace to speak of what has happened inside.
After Tiresias leaves, Oedipus threatens Creon with death or exile for conspiring with the prophet.
Creon informs Oedipus that the curse will be lifted if the murderer of Laius—the former king—is found and prosecuted. Finally, he answers that the child came from the house of Laius. Jocasta urges Oedipus not to look into the past any further, but he stubbornly ignores her. He asks that they provide him with a proper burial should he die in battle.
Oedipus and Antigone learn from a citizen that they are standing on holy ground, reserved for the Eumenides, goddesses of fate. Theseus returns to the stage, asking the daughters to stop their weeping. It is deliberately ironic that the "seer" can "see" better than Oedipus, despite being blind.
Oedipus cannot see how this could be, and concludes that the prophet must have been paid off by Creon in an attempt to undermine him. Oedipus becomes determined to track down the shepherd and learn the truth of his birth.Free summary and analysis of the events in Sophocles's Oedipus the King that won't make you snore.
We promise. Play Summary Oedipus the King Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List Throughout this mythic story of patricide and incest, Sophocles emphasizes the irony of a man determined to track down, expose, and punish.
Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) study guide contains a biography of Sophocles, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The Oedipus Plays are plays by Sophocles that were first performed in BC.
Summary. Plot Overview; Summary & Analysis; Summary. Read a Plot Overview of the entire play or a scene by scene Summary and Analysis. The Oedipus Plays: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series). Get all the key plot points of Sophocles's Oedipus Rex on one page.
From the creators of SparkNotes. Oedipus Rex Summary from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes. Explore a quick, humorous plot summary of Oedipus the King (or Oedipus Rex) by the best playwright of Ancient Greece, Sophocles.Download