Oedipus

Oedipus ( /ˈɛdɨpəs/ or /ˈiːdɨpəs/; Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους Oidípous meaning "swollen foot") was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. A tragic hero in Greek mythology, Oedipus fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thereby brought disaster on his city and family. The story of Oedipus is the subject of Sophocles's tragedy Oedipus the King, which was followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Together, these plays make up Sophocles's three Theban plays. Oedipus represents two enduring themes of Greek myth and drama: the flawed nature of humanity and an individual's powerlessness against the course of destiny in a harsh universe.

Oedipus was born to King Laius and Queen Jocasta. In the most well-known version of the myth, Laius wished to thwart a prophecy saying that his child would grow up to murder his father and marry his mother. Thus, he fastened the infant's feet together with a large pin and left him to die on a mountainside. The baby was found on Kithairon by shepherds and raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope in the city of Corinth. Oedipus learned from the oracle at Delphi of the prophecy, but believing he was fated to murder Polybus and marry Merope he left Corinth. Heading to Thebes, Oedipus met an older man in a chariot coming the other way on a narrow road. The two quarreled over who should give way, which resulted in Oedipus killing the stranger and continuing on to Thebes. He found that the king of the city (Laius) had been recently killed and that the city was at the mercy of the Sphinx. Oedipus answered the monster's riddle correctly, defeating it and winning the throne of the dead king and the hand in marriage of the king's widow, Jocasta.

Oedipus and Jocasta had two sons (Eteocles and Polynices) and two daughters (Antigone and Ismene). In his search to figure out who killed Laius (and thus end a plague on Thebes), Oedipus discovered it was he who had killed the late king - his father. Jocasta also soon realized that she had married her own son and Laius's murderer, and she hanged herself. Oedipus seized a pin from her dress and blinded himself with it. Oedipus was driven into exile, accompanied by Antigone and Ismene. After years of wandering, he arrived in Athens, where he found refuge in a grove of trees called Colonus. By this time, warring factions in Thebes wished him to return to that city, believing that his body would bring it luck. However, Oedipus died at Colonus, and the presence of his grave there was said to bring good fortune to Athens.

The legend of Oedipus has been retold in many versions, and was used by Sigmund Freud as the namesake of the Oedipus complex.

Read more about OedipusBasics of The Myth, 5th Century BC, Later Additions, Oedipus in Post-Classical Literature, Oedipus or Oedipais?, The Oedipus Complex

Other articles related to "oedipus":

Plays With Incidental Music - O
... The Oath of the Dead (Zacharias Papantoniou) 1938 music by Marios Varvoglis Oedipus at Colonus (Sophocles, c. 406 BC) 1845 music by Felix Mendelssohn 1936 music by Ildebrando Pizzetti Oedipus, a Tragedy (John Dryden and Nathaniel Lee, 1679 based on Sophocles) 1692 music by Henry Purcell, Z. 583, including Music for a while Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex or Oedipus Tyrannus Sophocles, 429 BC) 1881 music by John Knowles Paine 1887 music by Charles Villiers Stanford ...
The Oedipus Complex
... Main article Oedipus complex See also Electra complex Sigmund Freud used the name The Oedipus complex to explain the origin of certain neuroses in ... Oedipus himself, as portrayed in the myth, did not suffer from this neurosis – at least, not towards Jocasta, whom he only met as an adult (if anything, such feelings would have been directed at ... which heard the story told or saw the plays based on it, did know that Oedipus was actually killing his father and marrying his mother the story being continually ...
Rex - Literature and Performing Arts
... Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex in Latin), a Greek tragedy (Oedipus Tyrannus) written by Sophocles Oedipus rex (opera), an opera by Igor Stravinsky Rex (musical), a stage musical, with ...
Polybus Of Corinth
... He raised Oedipus as his adopted son, who had been abandoned by his parents Laius and Jocasta of Thebes in Greece ... In virtually all accounts of the mythology, when Oedipus reached adolescence, he consulted with the Delphic Oracle, who told him "You shall kill your father and marry your mother" ... Obviously horrified and disgusted with such a prophecy, Oedipus imposed self-exile upon himself and kept away from Corinth, as he resolved never to murder King Polybus, who had been a kind ...
Antigona - Synopsis - Background
... The background to the opera is the myth of Oedipus ... Oedipus has been expelled from Thebes, the city where he was king, after it was revealed he had killed his father and married his mother ... Creon, Oedipus' brother-in-law, declares that the vacant throne of Thebes will now be shared by the two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, ruling alternately, but the two have quarrelled ...

Famous quotes containing the word oedipus:

    The population question is the real riddle of the sphinx, to which no political Oedipus has as yet found the answer. In view of the ravages of the terrible monster over-multiplication, all other riddle sink into insignificance.
    Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95)

    To the intelligent, nature converts itself into a vast promise, and will not be rashly explained. Her secret is untold. Many and many an Oedipus arrives: he has the whole mystery teeming in his brain. Alas! the same sorcery has spoiled his skill; no syllable can he shape on his lips.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    Freudianism is much more nearly a religion than a science, inasmuch as the relation between analyst and patient has a great deal in common with that between priest and communicant at confessional, and such ideas as the Oedipus complex, the superego, the libido, and the id exert an effect upon the converted which is almost identical with what flows to the devout Christian from godhead, trinity, grace, and immortality.
    Robert Nisbet (b. 1913)