Oedipus the King: the Truth

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In the play Oedipus The King, Oedipus is to find the truth of what happened to King Laius. He is told from Creon that the Gods want him to punish those who killed King Laius. “Creon: Laius was killed. And now the God is clear: those murderers, he tells us, must be punished, whoever they may be.” (Sophocles, 420 BCE). While trying to figure out the truth of what happened to King Laius, who killed him and to banish them from the city, he also finds some things out about himself in which he did not know before.

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Oedipus is married to Jocasta, which was also King Laius’ wife, he has four children two of which are males and two of which are females. When Creon tells him what the Gods want him to do he tells his people that this person or persons will be banished and shall not be helped by anyone within the city. He also asks for clues from which were found when the King died. So, he sends the boy for Teiresias. Teiresias knows the truth but will not say it to Oedipus, which in turn makes him made that he will not tell him what he knows. When Oedipus starts to aggravate Teiresias he tells him that he is the one who had killed King Laius. “Teiresias: Then I would ask you to stand by the very words which you yourself proclaimed and from now on not speak to me or these men. For the accursed polluter of this land is you.” (Sophocles, 420 BCE).Oedipus did not believe what he had heard. He did not understand why Teiresias was accusing him of murdering King Laius.

When talking with his wife, Jocasta, he tells her of how he thinks Creon set him up by talking with the prophet, Teiresias. She doesn’t agree with him and tells him a story about what a prophet had told her late husband, King Laius. She told him how the prophet told Laius that his son was going to kill him. But instead of being killed by his son he was killed by a robber. “Jocasta: King Laius once received a prophecy. It said Laius was fated to be killed by a child conceived by him and me. Before our child was three days old, Laius fused his ankles tight together and ordered another man to throw him out on a mountain rock where no one ever goes.” (Sophocles, 420 BCE). Listening to this had made him more worrisome. For if King Laius was killed where three roads met, then Oedipus did in deed kill Laius.

While continuing to talk with his wife he finds out more information about when King Laius was killed. This is when he comes to terms with him being the one who killed Laius and having to live by the words he had spoken and be banished from the city and not to speak with any man in which lives in the cursed city. He is shaken by this information in which he has received. He doesn’t know what to think. Is he finding out the truth of what happened to the King before him and the truth about himself? He then tells Jocasta of what it is that has him so shaken and she then tells him that the prophet couldn’t be true because he was not Laius’ son.

Oedipus summons the servant who witnessed the event in which King Laius was killed. The only survivor of the incident. But while waiting on the servant a messenger arrives to give Oedipus some news. The news relieves him until he hears something else. This is when he finds out the disturbing truth about himself. In which he does not take all too well. When the messenger tells him that the man and woman who raised him were not his parents it confused him as he did not understand what he was hearing. Then the messenger proceeded to tell him that he was found in Cithaeron’s forest valleys. “Messenger: I found you in Cithaeron’s forest valley’s. I was the one who saved you. The ankles on your feet could tell you that. (Sophocles, 420 BCE). While looking at was previously mentioned by Jocasta, they bound their child’s feet together and sent the child away with a servant to be put on a mountain to die so that said child would not kill King Laius. This is where the truth about Oedipus is revealed.

Oedipus tried to get more information from the messenger but the messenger couldn’t tell him more because it was another shepherd who gave him to the messenger. He even told Oedipus that he thinks the other shepherd was one of Laius’ servants. When the servant arrives Oedipus makes sure that the messenger identified him as the other shepherd then begins grill him with questions about the night he found the baby. This is where he finds out that the child, himself, was actually Laius’ own child. “Servant: If you must know, they said the child was his. But your wife inside the palace is the one who could best tell you what is going on.” (Sophocles, 420 BCE).

In the end the truth will always come to light. In this play Oedipus finds out that he himself is the man who killed his real father and then turned around and married his mother. Learning that the people who raised you your whole life aren’t your real mother and father can be devastating. The prophecy in which he was told would happen when he was a younger man came true when he ran away from home to stay away from the person who he thought was his flesh and blood father, as he thought he would kill him. But instead found out the man he killed in the three crossroads was his father and the woman he married was actually his mother. When he found these out his wife/mother hung herself in their bedroom and Oedipus dug into his eye sockets and made himself blind for what it was he had done.

Learning the truth about his life caused so much grief that he wished that the servant has done as his mother and father wished and left him on the mountain to kill him. If he had then the city would have never of been cursed and their late King would still be their King, he wouldn’t of killed his father and married his mother and had children with her. He was devastated! Disgusted! The truth about his life ruined his life.

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Oedipus The King: The Truth. (2021, Mar 23). Retrieved January 31, 2023 , from

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