Oedipus

Topics: Greek mythology, Oedipus, Laius Pages: 2 (578 words) Published: September 12, 2013
Oedipus was a tragic hero of Greek mythology, a king doomed to a dire fate because he unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. His story is the tale of someone who, because he did not know his true identity, followed the wrong path in life. Oedipus represents two enduring themes of Greek myth and drama: the damaged nature of humanity and an individual's powerlessness against the route of destiny in a harsh universe. Oedipus was the son of the King Laius and the Queen Jocasta of Thebes. An oracle told Laius that any son born of Jocasta would kill him. When Jocasta did bear a son, the child's feet were pierced and he was left on the nearby mountain. Oedipus the infant eventually came to the house of Polybus, king of Corinth and his queen. Little Oedipus was named after the swelling from the injuries to his feet and ankles. The word oedema is from this same Greek word that means swelling. When Oedipus grew older, he sought advice from an oracle. The oracle told him that he was intended to kill his father and marry his mother The Oracle didn't tell him he was son of the king and queen of Thebes. In his attempt to avoid the fate predicted by the Oracle, he decided to travel all the way to Thebes. As Oedipus traveled, he encountered a chariot driven by his birth-father, King Laius. They fought over who had the right to go first and Oedipus killed Laius in self defense, unwittingly fulfilling part of the prophecy. The only witness of the King's death was a slave who fled from a caravan of slaves also traveling on the road at the time. Continuing his journey to Thebes, Oedipus encountered a Sphinx, who would stop all travelers to Thebes and ask them a riddle. If the travelers were unable to answer her correctly, they would be killed and eaten; if they were successful, they would be free to continue on their journey. The riddle was: "What walks on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon and three at night?” Oedipus answered: "Man: as an infant, he...
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