LLT 121 CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY: The Oedipus the King of Sophocles
Copyright  2001, Joseph J. Hughes
Last reviewed: 13 August 2001

I.   Oedipus' Steps to Self-Discovery
     A.	plague at Thebes
        1. wholesale destruction: first indication of Oedipus' illusory life
        2. people ask Oedipus' help
           a. the "savior of the city" once before
           b. like a god; close to a god
        3. Oedipus calls himself the 'sickest' of all: dramatic irony
     B.	Creon sent to Delphi by Oedipus
        1. answer: drive out the MIASMA from the land
        2. Oedipus unknowingly curses the guilty party: dramatic irony
     C.	Tiresias summoned
        1. Apollo's representative
        2. Tiresias refuses to tell what he knows
        3. Oedipus suspects treason
           a. Tiresias & Creon killed Laius
           b. now seek to discredit Oedipus & replace him
        4. Tiresias tells Oedipus he is the killer
     D.	Oedipus in denial
        1. makes references to Tiresias's blindness: dramatic irony
        2. tries to banish Creon for treason
        3. Oedipus' dilemma: either Creon or he is the killer
     E.	Oedipus tries to sort it out
        1. Jocasta tells Oedipus not to concern himself with prophecies
           a. the oracle delivered to her & Laius never came to pasS
           b. every boy has an Oedipus complex
        2. Jocasta's description of Laius' killing: the crossroads
        3. Oedipus' life at Corinth
           a. horrible oracle
           b. leaves Corinth to avoid his fate
        4. Herdsman summoned
        5. Jocasta again decries prophecy

II.  Life hits the fan
     A.	Messenger from Corinth
        1. Polybus dead: Oedipus can be king
        2. Messenger reveals Oedipus' origin
        3. Jocasta's realization and reaction to Fate
     B. Herdsman interrogated: Oedipus' identity revealed
     C. Oedipus's reaction
        1. rushes in to	kill Jocasta, who is already dead
        2. blinds himself
        3. begs for exile
        4. accepts and predicts his own fate
           a. neither sickness nor some other thing will kill him
           b. "Let my fate go where it will" (line 1459)

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