Prophecies in Oedipus the King Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

In Oedipus the King, one of the persons, who receive prophesies that project a doomed end, is King Laius; who is the biological father to Oedipus. The oracle that King Laius receives is that he is to be killed by his son (Bloom 117). Since Oedipus is still an infant, his father King Laius decides to kill him and after tying his legs with pins, he orders his wife, queen Jocasta to kill the boy. Jocasta however hesitates to kill Oedipus and instead gives the task to a servant.

The servant does the same and takes the boy to a hill to die from exposure, but the infant is saved by a shepherd, and taken to another kingdom; where the young boy is adopted by a childless King Polybus of Corinth.

The abovementioned prophesy is however fulfilled when Laius meets with Oedipus later in life. Being in the same road and both having chariots, they start to argue on who should use the road. King Laius then attempts to strike Oedipus who appears to be insolent, but Oedipus manages to wrestle him down and kills him.

This happens without either of them knowing about their identities. Oedipus then proceeds to kill the rest of the people accompanying King Laius but leaves one of them. The decision to kill Oedipus leads to the king’s death and as the oracle had said, king Laius dies by the hand of his son without knowing.
Oedipus is another character who receives information from the Delphic Oracle that he is to kill his father and marry his mother (Bloom 118).

Although Oedipus hears rumors that he is not the biological son to the king and queen, he decides that he does not want to harm them. When he confronts king Polybus and queen Merope about his true identity, they both maintain that indeed they are his biological parents. He therefore leaves Corinth and decides to stay away from Polybus and the queen so as not to harm them. Getting away from his parents seems as the best option for Oedipus.

On the way, he meets his biological father Laius and without realizing about their identities, they start to quarrel and Oedipus kills his father as well as those with him except one servant. By killing his father, Oedipus fulfils two prophesies. One is that told to his father when Oedipus was a child and the other is that which made him leave Corinth; that he is to kill he father.

Oedipus then arrives back to his father’s land, Thebes and he is approached with the riddle of the Sphinx (Bloom 99). This riddle jeopardizes the future of people of Thebes who appear to be imprisoned in form of a curse.

Oedipus manages to crack the riddle that had been provided by Oedipus. It showed that he was aware that man was the reason behind the riddle. This is because man followed traits akin to the riddle’s questions.

When Oedipus cracks this riddle, the Sphinx commits suicide by throwing herself off the cliff. This helps in breaking the curse that has long existed in Thebes and the people feel that Oedipus needs to be rewarded (Sophocles and Grene 12). The kingship is issued to Oedipus after he cracks the riddle of the sphinx.

This makes him to be the king of Thebes and goes on to marry his mother, the former queen of Thebes. Oedipus kills his biological father by asserting that his perceived parents were safe in Corinth and that they would make it hard for Oedipus to hurt his parents.

Both Laius and his son Oedipus find ways of avoiding fulfillment of the prophecy, but each method they choose, helps in pushing the prophecy to reality. While his father orders for Oedipus to be killed, Oedipus leaves Corinth, out of fear of hurting Polybus and Merope, since he thinks that they are his true parents.

He ends up killing his father on the way and upon arriving in Thebes; he manages to crack the riddle and is rewarded with kingship and as a result the queen becomes his wife. Unknowingly, he marries his mother and although they come to realize later about the situation, both of the former predictions come true.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Greek Drama. Broomall, PA: InfoBase Publishing, 2004. Print.

Sophocles and David Grene. Oedipus the King. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Print.

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