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Chapter Seventeen Lecture One. Oedipus and the Myths of Thebes. Cadmus and the Dragon. Cadmus and the Dragon. Cadmus, son of Agenor, gives up looking for Europa Goes to Delphi “Follow the cow with the special mark and found your city where she rests”

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chapter seventeen lecture one

Chapter SeventeenLecture One

Oedipus and the Myths of Thebes

cadmus and the dragon1
Cadmus and the Dragon
  • Cadmus, son of Agenor, gives up looking for Europa
  • Goes to Delphi
  • “Follow the cow with the special mark and found your city where she rests”
  • His men are killed by serpent near a spring of Ares
  • Cadmus kills the dragon
cadmus and the dragon2
Cadmus and the Dragon
  • To replace his men, he sows half the dragons teeth (Athena’s idea)
  • The “seed-sown” men arise
  • Cadmus throws rocks among them and they fight until only five are left
  • They will become the ancestors of the aristocratic families in Thebes
cadmus and the dragon3
Cadmus and the Dragon
  • Cadmus serves Ares for eight years
  • Marries Harmonia (daughter of Ares and Aphrodite)
  • Hephaestus gives her a necklace, which turns out to be cursed
cadmus and the dragon4
Cadmus and the Dragon
  • Cadmus and Harmonia retire in Illyria
  • Changed to snakes and live in the Elysian fields
amphion and zethus
Amphion and Zethus
  • After a while, Nycteus rules in Thebes
  • Antiopê, a daughter of Nycteus, becomes pregnant by Zeus
  • Nycteus banishes her
  • Not satisfied, Nycteus kills himself after ordering his brother Lycus to punish Antiopê more
amphion and zethus1
Amphion and Zethus
  • Lycus takes her from her new husband in the hills, Epopeus, and drags her to Thebes
  • On the way, she gives birth to twins Amphion and Zethus – raised by a shepherd
amphion and zethus2
Amphion and Zethus
  • At Thebes, Antiopê is tortured daily by Dircê (wife of Lycus)
  • Antiopê escapes one day, and comes upon her twins
  • They return to Thebes and kill Dircê; throw her body into a spring
  • They attack Thebes and kill Lycus
amphion and zethus3
Amphion and Zethus
  • Amphion – the musician
  • Zethus – the cattleman
  • Raising the walls of the new city
  • Marriages
    • Zethus – Thebê
    • Amphion – Niobê
two foundings of thebes
Two Foundings of Thebes
  • One Near Eastern, modeled after cosmic dragon combat
    • Brought by immigrants or original founders
    • The Mesopotamian cylinder seals
    • Phoinikia grammata or kadmeia
  • The other is local and more like folktale
    • Twins with opposing characters, wicked stepmother, “just in time”
oedipus the king1
Oedipus the King
  • Labdacus (another son of Polydorus)
  • His son Laius flees Thebes to Elis (King Pelops)
  • Chrysippus
  • “Curse on the house of Labdacus”
  • Jocasta
oedipus the king2
Oedipus the King
  • An oracle’s message: “Your son will kill you and marry your wife.”
  • His effort to avoid Jocasta failed one night
  • A son is born
  • Best known version is told by the tragedian Sophocles
oedipus the king3
Oedipus the King
  • Laius and Jocasta mutilate the feet of the child and give him to a shepherd to expose on the mountain
  • Shepherd instead gives it to a friend on the other side of Mt. Cithaeron
  • The child is adopted by Queen Meropê and King Polybus in Corinth
  • They name him “swollen foot” : Oedipus
oedipus the king4
Oedipus the King
  • Friends taunt him with the truth
  • He goes to Delphi
  • The Pythia recoils at his sight and tells him his fate
  • At Daulis, Oedipus resolves never to return to Corinth, heads toward Thebes
  • On the way, he kills all but one of a train of men
oedipus the king5
Oedipus the King
  • City is plagued by the Sphinx and her riddle
  • Oedipus solves the riddle
  • Becomes king and gets the queen as his wife
  • They have children by and by:
    • Polynices and Eteocles; Antigonê and Ismenê
oedipus the king7
Oedipus the King
  • Begins after these events
  • Oedipus determined to find the cause of a new plague in Thebes
    • The plague is caused by the pollution of Laius’s murder; the perpetrator is still in Thebes
  • Oedipus discovers gradually and reluctantly that he has fulfilled the prophecy
next plays in the cycle
Next Plays in the Cycle
  • Oedipus at Colonus
  • Antigonê
  • Aeschylus’s Seven Against Thebes (Aeschylus)
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