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Theme: Mythology

The Story of Oedipus


Oedipus was the son of
Laius and Jocasta,
and king of Thebes.
When Laius learnt from an oracle
that he will be doomed
by the hand of his own son
he exposed Oedipus
on Mount Cithaeron
just after his birth
with his feet pierced
and tied together.

The child was found
by a shepherd
of king Polybus of Corinth.
The king reared him
as his own child
but when Oedipus
had grown up
he was told by the oracle
that he was destined
to kill his father
and marry his mother.

Perceiving Polybus as his
father, he resolved not to
Return to Corinth
but on the road
between Delphi and Daulis
he met Laius
whom he killed
in a scuffle
without knowing that
he was his father.

Thebes was under the curse
of the Sphinx
a half woman and half lion
and she put a riddle
to every Theban
that passed by
and if a traveller
was unable to solve it
the Sphinx would devour him.

When nobody could answer
the Thebans proclaimed that
whoever would save the country
of the Sphinx
would obtain the kingdom
and Jocasta their queen.

The Riddle ran
"what has four legs
in the morning
two during the daytime
and three in the evening?"
It was Oedipus
who answered it correct.
"MAN - who crawls on all fours
as a baby
stands on two legs
as an adult
and leans on a stick
a third leg
in old age."

On hearing the
correct answer,
the Sphinx
threw herself down
from the rock
and Oedipus obtained
the kingdom of Thebes
and married his mother
Jocasta by whom
he became the father
of Antigone, Ismene and
twin sons Eteocles and Polyneices.

But as a consequence
of this incestuous alliance
Thebes was stricken
by a ravaging plague
affecting crops
and the city's inhabitants.

When an oracle was consulted
he ordered that the murderer of Laius
should be expelled from Thebes
and the blind prophet Tiresias

declared that Oedipus was the man
who killed Laius
his father.

On hearing this
Jocasta hung herself
and Oedipus in a frenzy
at the disclosure of his sin
and the sight of his
wife's/mother's corpse
tore out his eyes
with Jocasta's golden brooches
the gore gushing out
and staining his beard
and he wandered away
from Thebes
accompanied by his daughter
Such was his fate...


More By  :  Santanu Halder

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