Select network Aristotle is one of the most famous of ancient Greek writers. He noted that a tragic hero must, by definition, carry with him a fundamental flaw in his character that leads to his downfall.
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Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. March Learn how and when to remove this template message Painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres depicting Oedipus after he solves the riddle of the Sphinx.
Many parts or elements of the myth of Oedipus occur before the opening scene of the play, although some are alluded to in the text.
Oedipus is the son of Laius and Jocastathe king and queen of Thebes. The misfortunes of his house are the result of a curse laid upon his father for violating the sacred laws of hospitality.
In his youth, Laius was the guest of Pelopsthe king of Elisand he became the tutor of Chrysippusthe king's youngest son, in chariot racing. Laius seduced or abducted and raped Chrysippus, who according to some versions, killed himself in shame. This murder cast a doom over Laius and all of his descendants although many scholars regard Laius' transgressions against Chrysippus to be a late addition to the myth.
When his son is born, the king consults an oracle as to his fortune. To his horror, the oracle reveals that Laius "is doomed to perish by the hand of his own son".
Laius binds the infant's feet together with a pin, and orders Jocasta to kill him. Unable to kill her own son, Jocasta orders a servant to slay the infant for her.
The servant then exposes the infant on a mountaintop, where he is found and rescued by a shepherd in some versions, the servant gives the infant to the shepherd.
The shepherd names the child Oedipus"swollen feet", as his feet had been tightly bound by Laius. The shepherd brings the infant to Corinthand presents him to the childless king Polybuswho raises Oedipus as his own son.
As he grows to manhood, Oedipus hears a rumour that he is not truly the son of Polybus and his wife, Merope. He asks the Delphic Oracle who his parents really are. Desperate to avoid this terrible fate, Oedipus, who still believes that Polybus and Merope are his true parents, leaves Corinth for the city of Thebes.
On the road to Thebes, Oedipus encounters Laius and his retainers, and the two quarrel over whose chariot has the right of way. The Theban king moves to strike the insolent youth with his sceptre, but Oedipus, unaware that Laius is his true father, throws the old man down from his chariot, killing him.
Thus, Laius is slain by his own son, and the prophecy that the king had sought to avoid by exposing Oedipus at birth is fulfilled.
Before arriving at Thebes, Oedipus encounters the Sphinxa legendary beast with the head and breast of a woman, the body of a lioness, and the wings of an eagle.
The Sphinx was sent to the road approaching Thebes as a punishment from the gods, and would strangle any traveler who failed to answer a certain riddle. The precise riddle asked by the Sphinx varied in early traditions, and is not stated in Oedipus Rex, as the event precedes the play; but the most widely-known version is, "what is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?
Bested by the prince, the Sphinx throws herself from a cliff, thereby ending the curse. Plot[ edit ] P. Oedipus, King of Thebes, sends his brother-in-law, Creon, to ask advice of the oracle at Delphiconcerning a plague ravaging Thebes. Creon returns to report that the plague is the result of religious pollution, since the murderer of their former king, Laiushas never been caught.
Oedipus vows to find the murderer and curses him for causing the plague. Oedipus summons the blind prophet Tiresias for help. When Tiresias arrives he claims to know the answers to Oedipus's questions, but refuses to speak, instead telling him to abandon his search.An introduction to a classic play The plot of Sophocles’ great tragedy Oedipus the King (sometimes known as Oedipus Rex or Oedipus Tyrannos) has long been admired.
A Summary and Analysis of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King. Jan Posted by interestingliterature. . Oedipus: Riddle of the Sphinx as a Metaphor of Life Oedipus Rex (the King), written by Sophocles, is the tragic play depicting the disastrous existence to which Oedipus, an Athenian, is 'fated' to endure.
Oedipus Rex, also known by its Greek title, Oedipus Tyrannus (Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους Τύραννος IPA: [oidípuːs týranːos]), or Oedipus the King, is an Athenian tragedy by . Sophocles Oedipus the King is a tragic play which discusses the tragic discovery of Oedipus that he has killed his father and married his mo Fair Use Policy Oedipus gained the rule of Thebes by answering the riddle of Sphinx.
Sophocles used the riddle of the sphinx as a metaphor for the 3 phases of Oedipus’ life and to futher. The work was a fresh treatment of the established subject of the meeting between Oedipus and the Sphinx on the road to Delphi, notably portrayed at Sophocles' play Oedipus Rex.
Subject matter The painting depicts Oedipus meeting the Sphinx at the crossroads . Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex revolves around the story of Oedipus, who now is King of Thebes, searching for the murderer of the past king.
The tragedy is not so much that Oedipus is the murderer and committing incest with his mother.