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SparkNotes: The Oedipus Plays: Oedipus the King, lines …
My children, latest born to Cadmus old,
Why sit ye here as suppliants, in your hands
Branches of olive filleted with wool?
What means this reek of incense everywhere,
And everywhere laments and litanies?
Children, it were not meet that I should learn
From others, and am hither come, myself,
I Oedipus, your world-renowned king.
Ho! aged sire, whose venerable locks
Proclaim thee spokesman of this company,
Explain your mood and purport. Is it dread
Of ill that moves you or a boon ye crave?
My zeal in your behalf ye cannot doubt;
Ruthless indeed were I and obdurate
If such petitioners as you I spurned.
SparkNotes: The Oedipus Plays: Character List
To Laius, King of Thebes, an oracle foretold that the child born
to him by his queen Jocasta would slay his father and wed his mother.
So when in time a son was born the infant's feet were riveted together
and he was left to die on Mount Cithaeron. But a shepherd found the
babe and tended him, and delivered him to another shepherd who took
him to his master, the King or Corinth. Polybus being childless
adopted the boy, who grew up believing that he was indeed the King's
son. Afterwards doubting his parentage he inquired of the Delphic god
and heard himself the weird declared before to Laius. Wherefore he
fled from what he deemed his father's house and in his flight he
encountered and unwillingly slew his father Laius. Arriving at Thebes
he answered the riddle of the Sphinx and the grateful Thebans made
their deliverer king. So he reigned in the room of Laius, and
espoused the widowed queen. Children were born to them and Thebes
prospered under his rule, but again a grievous plague fell upon the
city. Again the oracle was consulted and it bade them purge
themselves of blood-guiltiness. Oedipus denounces the crime of which
he is unaware, and undertakes to track out the criminal. Step by
step it is brought home to him that he is the man. The closing scene
reveals Jocasta slain by her own hand and Oedipus blinded by his own
act and praying for death or exile.
Jocasta - Oedipus’s wife and mother, and Creon’s sister
Look ye, countrymen and Thebans, this is Oedipus the great,
He who knew the Sphinx's riddle and was mightiest in our state.
Who of all our townsmen gazed not on his fame with envious eyes?
Now, in what a sea of troubles sunk and overwhelmed he lies!
Therefore wait to see life's ending ere thou count one mortal blest;
Wait till free from pain and sorrow he has gained his final rest.
What do you make of Oedipus as a leader
Friends, countrymen, I learn King Oedipus
Hath laid against me a most grievous charge,
And come to you protesting. If he deems
That I have harmed or injured him in aught
By word or deed in this our present trouble,
I care not to prolong the span of life,
Thus ill-reputed; for the calumny
Hits not a single blot, but blasts my name,
If by the general voice I am denounced
False to the State and false by you my friends.
OEDIPUS, TRANSLATED BY FRANK JUSTUS MILLER DRAMATIS PERSONAE
O wealth and empiry and skill by skill
Outwitted in the battlefield of life,
What spite and envy follow in your train!
See, for this crown the State conferred on me.
A gift, a thing I sought not, for this crown
The trusty Creon, my familiar friend,
Hath lain in wait to oust me and suborned
This mountebank, this juggling charlatan,
This tricksy beggar-priest, for gain alone
Keen-eyed, but in his proper art stone-blind.
Say, sirrah, hast thou ever proved thyself
A prophet? When the riddling Sphinx was here
Why hadst thou no deliverance for this folk?
And yet the riddle was not to be solved
By guess-work but required the prophet's art;
Wherein thou wast found lacking; neither birds
Nor sign from heaven helped thee, but I came,
The simple Oedipus; I stopped her mouth
By mother wit, untaught of auguries.
This is the man whom thou wouldst undermine,
In hope to reign with Creon in my stead.
Methinks that thou and thine abettor soon
Will rue your plot to drive the scapegoat out.
Thank thy grey hairs that thou hast still to learn
What chastisement such arrogance deserves.
The Interplay of Characters in Oedipus Rex – NEOEnglish
Well, I will start afresh and once again
Make dark things clear. Right worthy the concern
Of Phoebus, worthy thine too, for the dead;
I also, as is meet, will lend my aid
To avenge this wrong to Thebes and to the god.
Not for some far-off kinsman, but myself,
Shall I expel this poison in the blood;
For whoso slew that king might have a mind
To strike me too with his assassin hand.
Therefore in righting him I serve myself.
Up, children, haste ye, quit these altar stairs,
Take hence your suppliant wands, go summon hither
The Theban commons. With the god's good help
Success is sure; 'tis ruin if we fail.
[Exeunt OEDIPUS and CREON]