King Oedipus

Oedipus was left alone to die with a spear through his foot after he was born because an oracle had told his parents, King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes, of a prophecy that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus itself means "swollen feet" thus his name. Oedipus was discovered by a shepherd of a nearby kingdom, Corinth, and was adopted by King Polybus and Queen Merope. Oedipus was raised by them and walked with a limp from the spear injury.

external image sphnx1r.jpg


After getting into a heated argument with his friends, they told him he was not a real son to the King and Queen. After hearing his parents denials, he went to ask the oracle who he was. After beeing told of his fate, he decided never to return to Corinth as he did not want to harm his parents. He did this not knowing they were not his real parents. At the crossroads of Corinth, Thebes, and Delphi, Oedipus had an encounter with an angry old man. After being angered by the mans actions, he attacked him and killed him along with his attendants. The only other survivor was a slave who had fled when the battle started. Little did Oedipus know that part one of the prophecy had been completed, as King Laius had been the angry old man. On his way to Thebes, Oedipus met a Sphinx, who was surrounded by piles of human remains. The Sphinx only let the person who could solve her riddle live. The riddle was "Who in the morning walks on four legs, at midday on two, and in the evening on three?" The clever Oedipus replied "Man: crawling on all fours as a baby; walking on two legs as an adult; and as an old man, leaning on a cane."
After hearing the answer, the Sphinx lept to her death, and the monster of Thebes had been slain. Oedipus was a hero in Thebes and married Queen Jocasta, not knowing that they were mother and son and that Oedipus had killed Laius. King Oedipus and Queen Jocasta had four children; Eteocles, Polyneices, Antigone and Ismene.

external image thebes01.jpg

Years later, a plague hit Thebes killing many people, plants, and animals. Oedipus sent Jocasta's brother, Creon, to ask the oracle what to do. Creon came back with the news that King Laius murderer must be banished from the Kingdom and the plague would end. Still not knowing he had killed King Laius, a surprised Oedipus launched an investigation wondering why there had not been one before. Later, a messenger from Corinth would inform him that King Polybus had died and told that they were his adoptive parents. The messenger said he knew this because he was the one who delivered the injured baby to them. After realizing what had happened Queen Jocasta turned pale. Oedipus questioned the shepherd who found him and found out he was the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta. Oedipus broke through her room to find the Queens lifeless body after she had hung herself. Oedipus followed this by gouging his eyes out so as to not ever see the light of day again.


Sources
http://thanasis.com/oedipus.htm
http://www.in2greece.com/english/historymyth/mythology/names/oedipus.htm