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MonkeyNotes-Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
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Annotations:

1. Laurel, Olive and Vine: Ancient Greeks used the leaves of the laurel tree to crown victorious athletes. The branch of the olive was a symbol of peace, and the vine creeper (associated with Dionysus) symbolized fertility. The grove, therefore, combines the three auspicious qualities of victory, peace, and fertility. It is also a place of rustic tranquillity; but the notes of the nightingale, always associated with sadness and mourning, give the grove a sound of lamentation.

2. The dread Goddesses: A reference to the Erinyes/Furies, also known by their propitiatory name, the Eumenides or "the kindly ones". They were also called "daughters of Earth and Gloom" as they were born from the blood of Uranus when his son, Cronos, mutilated him. Because of this, they are the avenging spirits of crime, especially of crimes committed against members of one's own family. They are very relevant to Oedipus since he unknowingly killed his own father. They are also protective deities of Athens since Athena offered them a home in the famous city- state.

3. Poseidon: the brother of Zeus. He is the God of earthquakes and horses and is worshipped by Athenians as the founder of Athens.

4. Prometheus: one of the Titans. He is a legendary child of the primeval couple, Uranus (Heaven) and Ge (Earth). He stole fire for mankind from Zeus who had deprived humans of this gift. Prometheus was punished by being chained to a desolate rock.


5. The Brass-Paved Causeway, the rampart of Athens: Scholars have debated over the exact meaning of this reference. Some take it to be the brass-paved steps leading down to the chasm which led to the infernal world of Hades. It may also refer to a part of the old fortifications of Athens, a relic of its old defensive walls. It is from this spot that Oedipus finally goes to his death.

6. Theseus: son of Aegens, a legendary king of Athens, (or son of Poseidon, according to another legend). He performed many fantastic feats in founding the kingdom of Athens and was venerated by Athenians as one of their divine patrons.

7. Phoebus/Apollo: the son of Zenus and Leto and brother of Artemis. As "the bright one", Phoebus was god of light and youth. He was also held in high regard as god of medicine, music, archery, and prophecy. His abode at Delphi later became the shrine where the Delphic priestess made her famous prophecies.

8. Pallas Athena: the daughter of Zeus and his first wife, Metis. She supposedly sprang from the head of her father. Her title "Pallas" probably refers to her pre-Hellenic form or manifestation. She was the patron Goddess of Athens and of all Greek cities in general.

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