49 Facts About Oedipus


Oedipus represents two enduring themes of Greek myth and drama: the flawed nature of humanity and an individual's role in the course of destiny in a harsh universe.

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Oedipus learned from the oracle at Delphi of the prophecy that he would end up killing his father and marrying his mother but, unaware of his true parentage, believed he was fated to murder Polybus and marry Merope, so left for Thebes.

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Oedipus answered the monster's riddle correctly, defeating it and winning the throne of the dead king – and the hand in marriage of the king's widow, who was his mother Jocasta.

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Years later, to end a plague on Thebes, Oedipus searched to find who had killed Laius and discovered that he himself was responsible.

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Oedipus then seized two pins from her dress and blinded himself with them.

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Legend of Oedipus has been retold in many versions and was used by Sigmund Freud to name and give mythic precedent to the Oedipus complex.

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Variations on the legend of Oedipus are mentioned in fragments by several ancient Greek poets including Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, Aeschylus and Euripides.

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Oedipus was the son of Laius and Jocasta, king and queen of Thebes.

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Infant Oedipus eventually came to the house of Polybus, king of Corinth, and his queen, Merope, who adopted him, as they were without children of their own.

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Little Oedipus was named after the swelling from the injuries to his feet and ankles .

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Oedipus confronted his parents with the news, but they denied this.

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Oedipus went to the same oracle in Delphi that his birth parents had consulted.

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Oedipus answered: "Man: as an infant, he crawls on all fours; as an adult, he walks on two legs and; in old age, he uses a 'walking' stick".

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Oedipus was the first to answer the riddle correctly, and the Sphinx allowed him to continue on.

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Oedipus sent his uncle, Creon, to the Oracle at Delphi, seeking guidance.

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When Creon returned, Oedipus learned that the murderer of King Laius must be brought to justice, and Oedipus himself cursed the killer of his wife's late husband, saying that he would be exiled.

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Oedipus sent for Tiresias, who warned him not to seek Laius' killer.

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Oedipus angrily blamed Creon for the false accusations, and the two argued.

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Jocasta entered and tried to calm Oedipus by telling him the story of her first-born son and his supposed death.

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Oedipus was relieved for the prophecy could no longer be fulfilled if Polybus, whom he considered his birth father, was now dead.

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Oedipus misunderstood her motivation, thinking that she was ashamed of him because he might have been born of low birth.

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Oedipus sought verification of the messenger's story from the very same herdsman who was supposed to have left Oedipus to die as a baby.

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In Sophocles' plays, Oedipus went in search of Jocasta and found she had killed herself.

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Some older sources of the myth, including Homer, state that Oedipus continued to rule Thebes after the revelations and after Jocasta's death.

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Oedipus decided that Polynices was a "traitor, " and should not be given burial rites.

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Years later, Oedipus, not knowing he was adopted, leaves home in fear of the same prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother.

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Oedipus goes on to defeat the Sphinx by solving a riddle to become king.

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Oedipus marries the widowed Queen Jocasta, unaware that she is his mother.

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The curse of Oedipus' sons was elaborated on retroactively to include Oedipus and his father, Laius.

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All three plays concern the fate of the City of Thebes, during and after the reign of King Oedipus, and have often been published under a single cover.

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Oedipus stands before them and swears to find the root of their suffering and to end it.

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Oedipus swears to do this, not realizing that he is himself the culprit.

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Oedipus remains in strict denial, though, becoming convinced that Tiresias is somehow plotting with Creon to usurp the throne.

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Oedipus realizes, horrified, that he might be the man he's seeking.

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Oedipus sends immediately for the man to either confirm or deny his guilt.

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At the beginning of Scene III, Oedipus is still waiting for the servant to be brought into the city, when a messenger arrives from Corinth to declare that King Polybus of Corinth is dead.

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Oedipus tells this all to the present company, including the messenger, but the messenger knows that it is not true.

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Oedipus is the man who found Oedipus as a baby in the pass of Cithaeron and gave him to King Polybus to raise.

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Oedipus reveals, furthermore that the servant who is being brought to the city as they speak is the very same man who took Oedipus up into the mountains as a baby.

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Oedipus refuses, and she withdraws into the palace as the servant is arriving.

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Oedipus begs to hold his two daughters Antigone and Ismene with his hands one more time to have their eyes full of tears and Creon out of pity sends the girls in to see Oedipus one more time.

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Oedipus finally finds refuge in the holy wilderness right outside Athens, where it is said that Theseus took care of Oedipus and his daughter, Antigone.

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Oedipus asks Oedipus to come back from Colonus to bless his son, Eteocles.

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Oedipus dies a peaceful death; his grave is said to be sacred to the gods.

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In Sophocles' Antigone, when Oedipus stepped down as king of Thebes, he gave the kingdom to his two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, both of whom agreed to alternate the throne every year.

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The most striking lines state that in this play Oedipus was blinded by Laius' attendants and that this happened before his identity as Laius' son had been discovered, therefore marking important differences with the Sophoclean treatment of the myth, which is regarded as the 'standard' version.

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Oedipus was a figure who was used in the Latin literature of ancient Rome.

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Oedipus makes no mention of Oedipus's troubled experiences with his father and mother.

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Freud reasoned that the ancient Greek audience, which heard the story told or saw the plays based on it, did know that Oedipus was actually killing his father and marrying his mother; the story being continually told and played therefore reflected a preoccupation with the theme.

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