What are Oedipus?

  • (noun): (Greek mythology) a tragic king of Thebes who unknowingly killed his father Laius and married his mother Jocasta; the subject of the drama 'Oedipus Rex' by Sophocles.
    Synonyms: King Oedipus, Oedipus Rex


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.

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Some articles on Oedipus:

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 ...
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 ...
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 father to him ...
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 childhood ... 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 Merope – but ... 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 ...
Plays With Incidental Music - O
1938 music by Marios Varvoglis Oedipus at Colonus (Sophocles, c. 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, Op ...

Famous quotes containing the word oedipus:

    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)

    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)