Oedipus


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Oedipus

(ĕd`ĭpəs, ē`dĭ–), in Greek legend, son of Laius, king of Thebes, and his wife, Jocasta. Laius had been warned by an oracle that he was fated to be killed by his own son; he therefore abandoned Oedipus on a mountainside. The baby was rescued, however, by a shepherd and brought to the king of Corinth, who adopted him. When Oedipus was grown, he learned from the Delphic oracle that he would kill his father and marry his mother. He fled Corinth to escape this fate, believing his foster parents to be his real parents. At a crossroad he encountered Laius, quarreled with him, and killed him. He continued on to Thebes, where the sphinxsphinx
, mythical beast of ancient Egypt, frequently symbolizing the pharaoh as an incarnation of the sun god Ra. The sphinx was represented in sculpture usually in a recumbent position with the head of a man and the body of a lion, although some were constructed with rams'
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 was killing all who could not solve her riddle. Oedipus answered it correctly and so won the widowed queen's hand. The prophecy was thus fulfilled. Two sons, Polynices and Eteocles, and two daughters, Antigone and Ismene, were born to the unwittingly incestuous pair. When a plague descended on Thebes, an oracle declared that the only way to rid the land of its pollution was to expel the murderer of Laius. Through a series of painful revelations, brilliantly dramatized by Sophocles in Oedipus Rex, the king learned the truth and in an agony of horror blinded himself. According to Homer, Oedipus continued to reign over Thebes until he was killed in battle; but the more common version is that he was exiled by Creon, Jocasta's brother, and his sons battled for the throne (see Seven against ThebesSeven against Thebes,
in Greek legend, seven heroes—Polynices, Adrastus, Amphiaraüs, Hippomedon, Capaneus, Tydeus, and Parthenopaeus—who made war on Eteocles, king of Thebes.
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). In Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus is guided in his later wanderings by his faithful daughter, Antigone.

Oedipus

 

in ancient Greek mythology, a king of Thebes.

In Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Tyrannus (c. 425 B.C.), Oedipus’ father, Laius, having received an oracle that he would be slain by his son, orders his wife Jocasta to abandon their new-born baby on Mount Cithaeron. The infant is saved by shepherds and is brought to Polybus, king of Corinth, who raises him as his own son. Upon reaching manhood, Oedipus is told by the Delphic oracle that he will slay his father and wed his mother. Afraid to return to Corinth, which he considers his homeland, Oedipus sets out on the road. While on the road he quarrels with and kills an unknown nobleman, who in fact is Laius. Subsequently, Oedipus solves the riddle of the Sphinx and frees Thebes; in return he is proclaimed king of Thebes and marries the widowed Jocasta. For 20 years he lives in happiness, unsuspecting that the prophecy of the Delphic oracle has come true. When a plague breaks out in Thebes and the Delphic oracle prophesizes that only the banishment of Laius’ murderer will save the city, Oedipus learns of his crimes. In despair, he puts his eyes out with a clasp from the dress of Jocasta, who has hanged herself, and goes into exile, accompanied by his loyal daughter Antigone. Oedipus dies in Colonus, a suburb of Athens.

Versions of the myth appeared in the works of classical authors, including Euripides and Seneca, and in literature and music beginning with the Renaissance, for instance, in the works of P. Corneille, J. Cocteau, T. S. Eliot, and I. F. Stravinsky.

Oedipus

exiles himself for killing father and marrying mother. [Gk. Lit.: Oedipus Rex]

Oedipus

blinded self on learning he had married his mother. [Gk. Lit.: Oedipus Rex]

Oedipus

unknowingly marries mother and fathers four sons. [Gk. Lit.: Oedipus Rex]
See: Incest

Oedipus

lamed by Laius with a spike through his feet in infancy. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 730]

Oedipus

kills father in argument not knowing his identity. [Gk. Lit.: Oedipus Rex]

Oedipus

blinds self upon learning of his crimes. [Gk. Lit.: Oedipus Rex]
See: Remorse
References in periodicals archive ?
Oedipus, distinguished by a scepter and crown, is surrounded by the Old Priest and children in what is clearly the first scene of the play.
As we shall see between Oedipus and Jocasta, the deficiencies of Abram's faith are compounded in his spouse's misbelief.
Time after time, my main obstacle in teaching Sophocles's Oedipus the King was my students' pre-packaged conviction that the play was only a drama of fate with perhaps a dash of hubris.
We'd also had the idea to do something based on Barbarella for a long time, and it was in a conversation with Emma Rice who thought Oedipus would be the best to do.
This type of incestuous sexual attraction was popularised by the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in the 19th century who attributed it to some of his patients, in what he described as the Oedipus complex.
The writing of the tragedy Oedipus the King (original Greek title [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] most commonly known as Oedipus Rex) is placed in the first half of the decade 430-420 BC.
Sophocles' plays receive special attention because unlike "appropriations" from other European and North American writers that tend to favor Euripides, the Irish have produced an unusual number of scripts based upon Oedipus The King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, Philoctetes, and Sophocles' interpretation of Medea.
To illustrate the depraved depth of the tyrant's erotic abnormality--and the unfathomable extent of his misery--Plato invokes, appropriates, and transforms Sophocles' three-play "Theban" cycle: Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannus, and Oedipus at Colonus.
Pasolini tells the story of "his" Oedipus by using two specific narratological techniques: the trilogy and the ring-composition (2).
This article traces the gradual development of a Greek presence in the modern Yiddish theater through a case study of the various permutations of two ancient Greek tragedies that best exemplify this model of maternal centrality--Medea and Oedipus the King.
The Sphinx felt shame for having received from Oedipus the correct solution to the famous riddle about the animal having, in turn, four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening, and he thought he should look for revenge.
To explore this theme, I shall first present two pre-psychoanalytic tales which have been central to psychoanalytic thinking, Hoffmann's story of The Sandman, as read by Rand and Torok, and Sophocles' King Oedipus, primarily as seen by Bion.