Oedipus would be a tragic hero of Greek mythology, a king doomed to a dire fate because he unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. His story is the tale of a person who, while he did not know his true identity, followed the incorrect path in daily life. Once he’d set foot on that path, his best qualities couldn’t save him from the outcomes of actions that violated the laws of gods and men. Oedipus represents two enduring themes of Greek myth and drama: the flawed nature of humanity and an individual’s powerlessness from the course of destiny in a harsh whole world.
The story starts with a son born to King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes*. The oracle at Delphi* said excitedly that their child would develop to murder Laius and marry Jocasta. Horrified, the king fastened the youngsters feet along with a large pin and left him on a mountainside to die.
However, shepherds found the baby-who became known as Oedipus, or “swollen foot”-and took him to the city of Corinth. There King Polybus and Queen Merope adopted him and raised him to think he was their own son. When Oedipus was grown, however, someone told him that he was not the son of Polybus. Oedipus visited Delphi to ask the oracle about his parentage. The solution he received was, “You are the man fated to murder his father and marry his mother.”
Like Laius and Jocasta, Oedipus was going to avoid the destiny predicted for him. Believing how the oracle had said he was fated to kill Polybus and marry Merope, he vowed never to go back to Corinth. Instead, he headed toward Thebes.
Along the way, Oedipus came to a narrow road between cliffs. There he met a mature man inside a chariot coming the other way. The two quarreled over who should cave in, and Oedipus killed the stranger and went on to Thebes. He found the city in great distress. He learned that a monster called the Sphinx was terrorizing the Thebans by devouring them when they failed to answer its riddle which King Laius had been murdered on his way to seek help from the Delphic oracle. The riddle of the Sphinx was “What walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?” Oedipus gave the proper answer: “A human being, who crawls as an infant, walks erect in maturity, and leans on a staff in senior years.” With this answer, Oedipus not only defeated the Sphinx, which killed itself in rage, but won the throne of the dead king and the submit marriage of the king’s widow, Jocasta.
Oedipus and Jocasta lived happily for a time and had two sons and two daughters. Then the dreadful plague discovered Thebes. A prophet declared that the plague would not end until the Thebans drove out the murderer of Laius, who had been within the city. A messenger then arrived from Corinth, announcing the death of King Polybus and asking Oedipus to return and rule the Corinthians. Oedipus told Jocasta what the oracle had predicted for him and expressed relief that the danger of his murdering Polybus was past. Jocasta told him not to fear oracles, for that oracle had said that her first husband could be killed by his own son, and instead he had been murdered by a stranger on the road to Delphi.
Suddenly Oedipus remembered that fatal encounter on the road and knew that he had met and killed his real father, Laius. At the same time, Jocasta remarked that the scars on Oedipus’s feet marked him because the baby whose feet Laius had pinned together such a long time ago. Confronted with the truth that she had married her own son and also the murderer of Laius, she hanged herself. Oedipus seized a pin from her dress and blinded himself with it.
Some accounts state that Oedipus was banished at the same time from Thebes, while others relate that he lived an unhappy existence there, despised by all, until his children was raised. Eventually he was driven into exile, combined with his two daughters, Antigone and Ismene. After many years of lonely wandering, he arrived in Athens, where he found refuge in a grove of trees called Colonus. By now, warring factions in Thebes wanted him to return to that city, believing that his body brings it luck. However, Oedipus died at Colonus, and also the presence of his grave there is said to bring good fortune to Athens.
The story of Oedipus has inspired artists and thinkers for thousands of years. The Roman philosopher Seneca wrote an emergency entitled Oedipus that influenced writers for example England’s John Dryden and Alexander Pope and France’s Voltaire and Pierre Corneille. Later artistic treatments of the Oedipus story incorporate a translation of Sophocles’ work by Irish poet William Butler Yeats, a play entitled The Infernal Machine by Jean Cocteau of France, music by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, and the movie Oedipus Rex by Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini. Sigmund Freud, among the founders of modern psychiatry, used the word Oedipus complex to refer to a psychological state by which boys or men experience hostility toward their fathers and are drawn to their mothers.
Among Kadmos’ discandants, who ruled Thebe, was king Laios. An oracle had predicted him that his son would kill him. For that reason he feared his son so much that he commanded a slave to abandon his son. However the slave felt pitty for the child and gave him to a herd of the Corintish king, Polybos. They named him OEDIPUS (with the swollen feet). He grown up in Corinth and ment to live in the house of his real parents, until one of his friends said he was an adopted child. That words had given him quite a shock and he kept in doubt of the words. He went to the oracle of Delphi to ask advice. About the question, where his real parents came from, the oracle didn’t answered directly: He’d to watch that he didn’t kill his father and marie his mother. He thought that his parents were the king and queene of Corinth were his parents, therefore he went to Thebe. On a crossroad he met a couple of travelers. They had a fight about who could cross first. In that fight Oedipus killed everybody, including his real father, the king of Thebe. On this way the very first forecast of the oracle was reality. During those times Thebe was regulary visitid with a monster: The Sfinx: half a women, half a lion, and besides that it had wings !. She asked the individuals who passed by the next question: “Which creation walkes each morning on four, in the midday on two and in the evening on three legs ?” If the folks answered wrong he ate them ! The oracle had forcast that the monster would kill itself when someone answers the quiestion right. Perseus also knew about the monster and he went to it. Because queen Iocaste had promised her hand and the crown to the man who could kill the Sfinx. He heard the question and located the solution: a human. The Sfinx threw itself from a cliff; Perseus married Iocaste (his mother!) and had become the king of Thebe. Twenty years followed of great happiness, but then then the plague started. Because of that the citie sent Kreon to the oracle of Delphi. He returned with the following answer: The plague was a punishment of the Gods for the murder on Laios: the murderer needed to punished. Oedipus asks the folks of Thebe: ‘The man who killed Laios tell me and also you go free out of Thebe. But, of course, nowhone came. Therefore went Oedipus to a visionary. He didn’t wish to tell the truth and Oedipus thougt there wer mean plans about him so he disbanded poor people man. The man was so hurted through the words that he said the truth about the killer: Oedipus. Then Oedipus accused Kreon also about mean plans and threatens him with disbanding or capital punishment. At that time Iocaste reassures with the words that Laios by their own son was killed and never by him, then Oedipus suspects something. Meanwhile there arrives a messenger, who tells him that Polybos (king of Corinth) is dead and also the people of Corinth want him as king. He also said the queen isn’t his mother, while he (the messenger) was handed Oedipus by a slave of Laios. Then something tereble happends: Iocaste kills herself in despair. Oedipus stung his eyes out. Later he went to Athens and died in peace in the arms of king Theseus.
The myth starts with Laius and Jocasta, king and queen of Thebes, who receive a warning in the Delphic oracle that their soon-to-be-born son will kill his father and marry his mother. Immediately after its birth, in order to steer clear of the prophecy, the infant’s feet are pierced and bound, and he is given to some shepherd who is instructed to abandon the child on the slopes of Mount Cithaeron. The shepherd takes pity on the child and gives it to another shepherd from Corinth, who then brings it to the childless Polybus and Merope, king and queen of Corinth, to be raised as their own son. They name him Oedipus, meaning “swollen foot.”
When Oedipus reaches adulthood, he learns from an oracle that he’s destined to kill his father and marry his mother. In order to evade his fate, Oedipus leaves Corinth, never to return. During the journey, his chariot and another’s meet where three roads cross. Neither occupant would like to cede the other’s right of way. A fight ensues in which hot-headed Oedipus kills the other man – his biological father, King Laius.
Sometime later, Oedipus reaches Thebes and is confronted at the city’s gate by the Sphinx, a mythological creature using the head of the woman and the body of a lion. She terrorizes the city by asking all travelers who attempt to go through the gate a riddle, killing them when they cannot answer it. She asks Oedipus the same cryptic question, but to her surprise, he answers it, resulting in the outraged Sphinx to leap from her perch and hurl herself from the pointed rocks below to die impaled on their points. Oedipus will be hailed because the city’s savior and proclaimed king by the queen’s brother, Creon, who’s its regent. Oedipus marries Laius’ widow – his own mother – and contains four kids with her: Antigone, Ismene, Eteocles, and Polynices. After ruling benevolently for several years, a plague suddenly descends upon town.