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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Sophocles-Oedipus the King by Sophocles


SOPHOCLES

OEDIPUS THE KING


ARGUMENT

To Laius, King of Thebes, an oracle foretold that the child born
to him by his queen Jocasta would slay his father and wed his mother.
So when in time a son was born the infant's feet were riveted together
and he was left to die on Mount Cithaeron. But a shepherd found the
babe and tended him, and delivered him to another shepherd who took
him to his master, the King or Corinth. Polybus being childless
adopted the boy, who grew up believing that he was indeed the King's
son. Afterwards doubting his parentage he inquired of the Delphic god
and heard himself the weird declared before to Laius. Wherefore he
fled from what he deemed his father's house and in his flight he
encountered and unwillingly slew his father Laius. Arriving at Thebes
he answered the riddle of the Sphinx and the grateful Thebans made
their deliverer king. So he reigned in the room of Laius, and
espoused the widowed queen. Children were born to them and Thebes
prospered under his rule, but again a grievous plague fell upon the
city. Again the oracle was consulted and it bade them purge
themselves of blood-guiltiness. OEDIPUS denounces the crime of which
he is unaware, and undertakes to track out the criminal. Step by
step it is brought home to him that he is the man. The closing scene
reveals Jocasta slain by her own hand and OEDIPUS blinded by his own
act and praying for death or exile.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE
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