Glossary hearsay something one has heard, but does not know to be true. Important Quotes The following important quotes convey information about themes, symbols and motifs or the characters of the play. Her narrative of his murder, however, sounds familiar to Oedipus, and he asks to hear more. He is speaking to the people of Thebes and letting them know that he will find Laius's killer and end the plague on the city. Paradoxically, then, Jocasta's skepticism brings Oedipus to the suspicion that perhaps the prophet is right after all — and that he is the murderer of Laius. Thy happy star ascendant brought us luck, O let it not decline! Despite his family's attempts to stop the prophecy from being fulfilled, Oedipus still falls prey to fate. Tiresias Counsels Oedipus At another point, Oedipus summons Tiresias to ask his advice about finding Laius' murderer.
The speech is heartbreaking because we know that Oedipus has arrived at only half the truth. Tiresias retorts by calling Oedipus blind, a wise remark on two levels. Lesson Summary Oedipus Rex is the story of a tragic hero who experiences a horrible downfall. She mocks Fate, telling Oedipus that no one can see the future and that all prophecies are false. Again, Jocasta advises him not to worry about prophecies. And so, despite his precautions, the prophecy that Oedipus dreaded has actually come true. However, this quote is just as true at the end of the play, where Oedipus knows and accepts his horrible fate.
Although Oedipus has good intentions, his lack of recognition for the boundary between what things should be done privately and what can be done publicly suggests a sort of ignorance on his part. There are many translations of the play, these quotes and line numbers refer to the translation by Robert Fagles , published by Penguin Classics 1st edition. At first the shepherd refuses to speak, but under threat of death he tells what he knows — Oedipus is actually the son of Laius and Jocasta. Oedipus explains to Jocasta how Tiresias condemned him, and Jocasta responds that all prophets are false. A blight is on our harvest in the ear, A blight upon the grazing flocks and herds, A blight on wives in travail; and withal Armed with his blazing torch the God of Plague Hath swooped upon our city emptying The house of Cadmus, and the murky realm Of Pluto is full fed with groans and tears. Oedipus the King unfolds as a murder mystery, a political thriller, and a psychological whodunit.
Nor battlements nor galleys aught avail, If men to man and guards to guard them tail. Oedipus becomes determined to track down the shepherd and learn the truth of his birth. Because of Oedipus' first miraculous act, the citizens believe that he is the only one who has the power to 'succor' provide relief for the city and end the plague. You have your sight, and do not see What evils are about you, nor with whom, Nor in what home you are dwelling. Fate is what drives the story of Oedipus, and it is fate that will be discussed in this lesson. Lesson Summary This lesson has discussed the importance of fate in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles.
But when he comes, then I were base indeed, If I perform not all the god declares. Oedipus finds out from a messenger that Polybus, king of Corinth, Oedipus' father, has died of old age. While many priests and suppliants pray to the gods for relief, this priest comes to Oedipus to help them escape this plague. At this point in the tale, Creon is an advisor and one of the three named rulers of Thebes. The discovery and punishment of the murderer will end the plague. Fate Used in Irony We also see a third quote about fate in Oedipus Rex from King Oedipus himself.
It is the fate of all of us, perhaps, to direct our first sexual impulse towards our mother and our first hatred and our first murderous wish against our father. Oedipus: Oedipus is the king of Thebes. It is the story of the king of Thebes, Oedipus, who kills his father and marries his mother without knowing it. Tiresias provokes Oedipus by challenging his ability to solve riddles. Fate is the idea, in literature and sometimes common language, of an invisible power that controls the future. Jocasta, in contrast to Oedipus, rejects the power of prophecy, citing as proof her own experience with the oracle who predicted that her son would kill her husband.
In the closing of this drama, the Chorus tells the audience that while Oedipus's deeds were good, Fate still prevailed. Prior to the events of Oedipus Rex, Jocasta was forced to abandon Oedipus on Mount Cithaeron, where he was then found and raised by a shepherd. Jocasta, however, reminds him that Laius died at the hands of many men, not one. Nevertheless, Oedipus asks that the only living witness to the murderer — a shepherd — be brought to him for questioning. At this point in the play, Oedipus sees no alternative to blind exile and speaks calmly in lyric form. Oedipus reacts to the news of a plague in Thebes by searching for answers.
Overhearing, the messenger offers what he believes will be cheering news. Confident that the worst he can hear is a tale of his lowly birth, Oedipus eagerly awaits the shepherd. Someone tossed it in a mountain wilderness. The citizens of Thebes and the audience are warned not to be jealous of men who seem like they have everything in life. The city is beset with a plague and many of Oedipus's citizens are sick and dying. Your sorrow touches each man severally, Him and none other, but I grieve at once Both for the general and myself and you. Jocasta enters from the palace to offer a branch wrapped in wool to Apollo.
My zeal in your behalf ye cannot doubt; Ruthless indeed were I and obdurate If such petitioners as you I spurned. Laios didn't bear the terror he feared from his son. Therefore, O King, here at thy hearth we sit, I and these children; not as deeming thee A new divinity, but the first of men; First in the common accidents of life, And first in visitations of the Gods. Hera cursed him with blindness, at which point Zeus gave him clairvoyance and seven lifetimes as a consolation. The killer cannot hide from fate, that power that controls the future.
Now blinded and disgraced, Oedipus begs Creon to kill him, but as the play concludes, he quietly submits to Creon's leadership, and humbly awaits the oracle that will determine whether he will stay in Thebes or be cast out forever. He doesn't realize that those words actually mean he's sleeping in his father's bed with his own mother. After Jocasta intercedes in the fight between Oedipus and Creon, Oedipus calms down and recalls that there is a riddle before him that he, as the ruler of Thebes, has a responsibility to solve. What makes these particular lines ironic is that Oedipus is known not only to the people of Thebes for defeating the Sphinx, but by the actual theater audience because of his terrible fate, which had long been known through the retelling of myths. In this passage, Oedipus boasts that his own intellectual powers saved Thebes and rages against Tiresias for claiming that Oedipus was to blame for the plague. Fate was an important concept to the ancient Greeks, something that they believed in strongly. At the Festival of Dionysus — the god of wine — such a telling detail would be regarded as a tribute.