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Oedipus the King

OEDIPUS THE KING
ARGUMENT
To Laius, King of Thebes, an oracle foretold that the child born to him by his queen
Jocasta would slay his father and wed his mother. So when in time a son was born the
infant's feet were riveted together and he was left to die on Mount Cithaeron. But a
shepherd found the babe and tended him, and delivered him to another shepherd who
took him to his master, the King or Corinth. Polybus being childless adopted the
boy, who grew up believing that he was indeed the King's son. Afterwards doubting his
parentage he inquired of the Delphic god and heard himself the weird declared before to
Laius. Wherefore he fled from what he deemed his father's house and in his flight
he encountered and unwillingly slew his father Laius. Arriving at Thebes he answered
the riddle of the Sphinx and the grateful Thebans made their deliverer king. So he
reigned in the room of Laius, and espoused the widowed queen. Children were born
to them and Thebes prospered under his rule, but again a grievous plague fell upon the
city. Again the oracle was consulted and it bade them purge themselves of blood-
guiltiness. Oedipus denounces the crime of which he is unaware, and undertakes to
track out the criminal. Step by step it is brought home to him that he is the man. The
closing scene reveals Jocasta slain by her own hand and Oedipus blinded by his own act
and praying for death or exile.
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