Oedipus Rex is actually an Athenian tragedy by the Sophocles. The Greek Title of this book is Oedipus Tyrannus. Its first performance was done around 429 BC. You can get the PDF, Kindle or Epub versions from this page.
This story begins from city of Thebes in the ancient Greece which was modeled after the Thebes in Egypt. The king & queen of Thebes were expecting a child and they were very happy. However, one day one of the Oracle wizard time people delivered a prophecy unto the king that said his child would one day murder him. So of course, thinking logically the king did what any good father would do. He gave his newborn child to one of his servants drove spikes into his feet. So, he might never come home and ordered him to be tossed into the river.
Fortunately, the servant wasn’t a completely horrible human being and instead of throwing the baby in the river, he decided just to leave it for dead on the mountain. Which apparently wasn’t quite as bad. And more fortunate still a Shepherd happened to be passing by that very day and discovered this poor baby all alone. He was from the Town of “Corinth” which was just across the mountain from Thebes.
As it turns out, the king & queen of Corinth were incapable to have their own children. So, as a gift, the Shepherd gave this little boy to the king & queen. They were happy and they named him Oedipus which means swollen foot. Little did they know his life would be a tragedy. Over time like old people Oedipus grew up & became a strapping young man. One day, he was out drinking with his friend when he discovered some troubling news that Oedipus is adopted. Oedipus, of course, was shocked and he had to know the truth himself.
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Oedipus traveled all the way from Corinth to Delphi. Where he planned to visit the “Temple of Apollo” and asked the Oracle. Although she did not confirm or deny his adoption. She did deliver a familiar prophecy which was that he would murder his father only of course Oedipus believed his father was the king of Corinth and had no idea about these.
Never return to “Corinth” to protect the man he believed was his father. He ended up on road to Thebes. While he was walking along enjoying the scenery, turns out there was a grumpy old man behind him who thought he was going a little bit too slow. So as old men often do when they’re annoyed he decided to poke that young man with his walking stick, hurry up young man! This made Oedipus very angry and you would not like him when he’s angry.
With his companions defeated this old man could only stand there in tremble and fear as Oedipus killed him with bare hand. It was only after Oedipus calmed down and he realized hey I just killed some guys and an old man. One of the companions of old man who is actually his servant managed to escape the bloody massacre. Oedipus didn’t realize it. Despite having killed some guys earlier that day Oedipus continued to Thebes like it was no big deal.
When Oedipus reached the outskirts of the Thebes, he noticed something was up. Turns out, there was a vicious creature guarding the gateway to city eating everyone alive. It had the body of the lion, wings like an eagle, and the breasts like a woman. It was the Sphinx. “Answer my riddle,” she said and I will let you live.
Like or Death Jeopardy:
This is life or death jeopardy; your contestant today is Oedipus of Thebes. And you’re always lovely hosts the Sphinx. Here’s today’s clue,
This creature walks on four legs in the morning, 2 at noon, and three in the evening.
And you said what is a man? That’s correct.
The “Sphinx” was so upset that Oedipus answered the riddle correctly that she did the only logical thing and hurled herself off a mountain. Oedipus was greeted as the hero in Thebes because Thebes was without a king and this was immediately crowned as ruler of the city. And even got to marry the Queen. They had four kids together. As the years went by it became obvious that a plague had settled over the land leaving their fields and women bare.
Oedipus sent Creon (brother-in-law) towards the temple at Apollo to investigate. Creon soon returned and told the king that the only way to get rid of the plague was to disclose who killed the previous king of Thebes. Oedipus make decision, he would have to investigate. And so, he began to ask around and he got the same answer from all the towns’ people. He was to talk to blind prophet for he knew all. He approached the blind prophet and he revealed some shocking news to Oedipus. Blind Prophet said you’re the killer Oedipus it was you that killed the former king.
This made Oedipus very angry. So, he left, blind prophet said I might be blind to the world Oedipus but you are blind to the truth. Oedipus rushed home to the Queen to explain. She said that can’t be true you’ve never murdered anyone, have you? Oedipus said it was years ago before we were even married. She questioned, how did he look? Oedipus recalled the day that he killed the man and all of the men that were with him. Oedipus said I need to hear what he has to say. The Queen had already put two and two together. Though when the witness arrived and revealed who he was. Oedipus was shocked. It was the man that had gotten away all those years ago. The only living remaining servant of the king.
Oedipus was furious at his wife for not telling him the truth. Enraged Oedipus rushed home to kill his wife. But he didn’t have to. While Oedipus was out, the Queen hung herself. It was then Oedipus made the most shocking revelation of all and put all the pieces together. He remembered the prophecy the Oracle at the “Temple of Apollo” gave him long ago that said he would murder his father. If the man that he had killed years ago on the road to Thebes was his father. And his father was the king that meant his mom was the queen and that he had married and conceived children with his own mother.
Oedipus was so horrified by this revelation. He went into a panic, took a nearby knife and begin to gouge out his eyes. It would appear that Oedipus’s destiny was inescapable. The ironic thing, of course, was like blind prophet now Oedipus was both blind to the world but also the truth. As the king of Thebes Oedipus did the only right thing he could and banished himself from the city. Oedipus left his sons behind the city to rule in his place. They quarreled all the time and were eventually killed. Oedipus has brought his 2 daughters with him into the wilderness. They were both eventually murdered.
One day in his old age, Oedipus was said to be struck by a lightning bar killing him instantly. However, the “Ancient Greeks” say that to be struck by a lightning bolt means to be called up to Mount Olympus with Zeus himself. So maybe Oedipus is there watching over the land of Thebes for eternity and so ends the tale of Oedipus historically the first mother.
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