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The Pre-Oedipus Story. All the knowledge that a student needs to know BEFORE reading “Oedipus ”. Once Upon a Time . . . It all began in Greece, in a city-state by the name of Thebes. King Laius and Queen Jocasta were expecting their first child when they received a disturbing prophesy :.

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The Pre-Oedipus Story

All the knowledge that a student needs to know BEFORE reading “Oedipus”


Once upon a time
Once Upon a Time . . .

  • It all began in Greece, in a city-state by the name of Thebes.

  • King Laius and Queen Jocasta were expecting their first child when they received a disturbing prophesy:



What to do
What to do?

  • Faced with a bad situation, Laius and Jocasta decide to KILL their new little baby.

  • They pierce their son’s ankles and give him to a shepherd to kill.


What to do1
What to do?

  • The shepherd doesn’t like this situation at all!!! He can’t kill the baby either!

  • He gives the baby to another Shepherded


Corinth
Corinth

  • Shepherd #2 gives the baby to King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth, who haven’t been able to have their own children.

  • They raise Oedipus as their child, never telling him that he is, in fact, adopted.


The truth
The TRUTH

  • At a wedding, a guest who has indulged a bit too much, tells Oedipus that Polybus and Merope are not his parents.



The oracle at delphi
The Oracle at Delphi

  • Of course, the Oracle isn’t really good at straight answers.

  • Oedipus asks the Oracle if Polybus and Merope are his real parents.

  • The Oracle answers him by giving him a prophesy:


You will kill your father and beget have children by your mother
“You will kill your father and beget (have) children by your mother.”


Go west young man
Go west young man!

  • Oedipus decides that he can’t go back home (Corinth), otherwise he may kill his father (Polybus) and marry his mom (Merope).


But as readers we know
But, as readers, we know . . .

  • Polybus and Merope are not his real parents.

  • Therefore, he could go back to Corinth if he wanted to.

  • The worst way that he could head is towards Thebes.

  • Therefore, he heads towards Thebes


Meanwhile back in thebes
Meanwhile, back in Thebes . . .

  • A curse has beset the people of Thebes in the form of the Sphinx.

  • The Sphinx asks a riddle, and if you can’t answer it, well, you will die.

  • To help his people, King Laius decides to travel to the Oracle at Delphi to seek a solution.


At the crossroads
At the crossroads

  • Guess who meets at the crossroads of three roads?

  • Oedipus and King Laius

  • Oedipus running from the Oracle and Laius to it.


Father and son meet
Father and Son Meet

  • Only, neither knows that they are father and son!!

    They argue over who has the right of way.

  • Laius strikes Oedipus, and Oedipus gets angry.

  • They fight and Oedipus kills King Laius.


First part fulfilled
First part fulfilled

  • the first part of the Oracle’s prophesy has now been fulfilled.


Thebes
Thebes

  • Oedipus continues on to Thebes and meets the Sphinx, which is still terrorizing the people.

  • The Sphinx asks Oedipus its riddle:



His reward
His Reward and three legs in the evening?”

  • After correctly answering the riddle and ridding Thebes of the Sphinx, the people wish to reward Oedipus by making him their king (who has mysteriously disappeared).

  • The easiest way to accomplish this, is for him to marry the queen, Jocasta (his mom).


Second part of prophesy fulfilled
Second part of prophesy fulfilled and three legs in the evening?”!


Happily ever after
Happily ever after???? and three legs in the evening?”

  • Oedipus and Jocasta marry and have four children.

  • About 18-20 years pass.

  • The play begins.


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