The people mourn their dead, and Oedipus advises them, in their own interest, to search out and apprehend the murderer of Laius. He is constantly in motion, seemingly trying to keep pace with his fate, even as it goes well beyond his reach.
Man, it looks like the ancient Greeks had major road rage. Creon curses him and threatens to slay Antigone before his very eyes. Tiresias responds cryptically, lamenting his ability to see the truth when the truth brings nothing but pain. The messenger himself brought Oedipus as a baby to the royal family as a gift after a shepherd found the boy in the mountains and gave him to the messenger.
Oedipus tells the messenger he will not go to Corinth for fear of siring children by his mother, Merope.
Oedipus and Antigone learn from a citizen that they are standing on holy ground, reserved for the Eumenides, goddesses of fate. When the time came for Eteocles to step down, though, he refused and exiled his brother.
Oedipus, stunned, tells his wife that he may be the one who murdered Laius. The shepherd then enters. Creon informs Oedipus that the curse will be lifted if the murderer of Laius—the former king—is found and prosecuted. He prays for the safety of his sisters and then leaves for Thebes.
Oedipus asks that this shepherd be brought forth to testify, but Jocasta, beginning to suspect the truth, begs her husband not to seek more information. Oedipus says that his time of death has come. The monster swoops down on him and asks her riddle.
The shepherd was the same man Oedipus has already sent for—the eyewitness to Laius's murder. The oracle has predicted that the burial place of Oedipus will bring good fortune to the city in which it is located, and both sons, as well as Creon, know of this prophecy.
According to Jocasta, the prophecy did not come true because the baby died, abandoned, and Laius himself was killed by a band of robbers at a crossroads. Polybus died of natural causes, so Oedipus and Jocasta are relieved for the time being. Creon now rules the city, and he has ordered that Polynices, who brought a foreign army against Thebes, not be allowed proper burial rites.
This makes him really go off the deep end, and he yanks a pin from her robe and stabs out his eyes. Just as the messenger finishes his story, Antigone and Ismene come onstage, chanting a dirge. As proof, she notes that the Delphic oracle once told Laius he would be murdered by his son, when in fact his son was cast out of Thebes as a baby, and Laius was murdered by a band of thieves.
Oedipus realizes that he has fulfilled his awful prophecy.
At the beginning of Oedipus the King, Oedipus is hugely confident, and with good reason. When he tells the story of killing the band of travelers who attempted to shove him off the three-way crossroads, Oedipus shows that he has the capacity to behave rashly. Oedipus is all like, "No way, you get out the way.
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. When Oedipus hears further that Laius was killed by robbers at the meeting place of three roads and that the three roads met in Phocis, he is deeply disturbed and begins to suspect that he is, after all, the murderer.
Not knowing where to go now, Antigone says they will have to wander forever alone. Creon makes good on his word, giving him the throne and the hand of Jocasta.
Antigone wails that they will cry for Oedipus for as long as they live. In this way Theseus and his heirs may always rule over a safe city.
One day, Oedipus goes to the Oracle of Delphi to find out who his real parents are. Cite This Page Choose citation style: Oedipus questions Creon about the murder of Laius, who was killed by thieves on his way to consult an oracle.Oedipus the King unfolds as a murder mystery, a political thriller, and a psychological whodunit.
Throughout this mythic story of patricide and incest, Sophocles emphasizes the irony of a man determined to track down, expose, and punish an assassin, who turns out to be himself. As the play opens. Oedipus is a man of swift action and great insight. At the opening of Oedipus the King, we see that these qualities make him an excellent ruler who anticipates his subjects’ needs.
When the citizens of Thebes beg him to do something about the plague, for example, Oedipus is one step ahead of them—he has already sent Creon to the oracle at Delphi.
Oedipus relates how he fled to avoid the killing of his father. The stranger reveals to Oedipus that he is the adopted son of the king.
This puts Oedipus in deep gloom and he wishes to go further. Oedipus goes on to question a messenger and a shepherd, both of whom have information about how Oedipus was abandoned as an infant and adopted by a new.
Explore a quick, humorous plot summary of Oedipus the King (or Oedipus Rex) by the best playwright of Ancient Greece, Sophocles. 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.Download