Oedipus Rex Detailed Summary-Part IV, a play by Sophocles



The stranger asks Oedipus why he seems afraid of talking about his parents. Upon this, Oedipus tells him of the prophecy that he would kill his father and mate his mother. The stranger reveals to Oedipus that he is an adopted son of the king. And that stranger himself found Oedipus in a Glen of Kithairon. Jocasta is almost mad. He tells Oedipus that Oedipus was found with a spike through both his feet. He further tells that they called him "Oedipus, 'Who-walks-in-pain.'" Oedipus asks who and it leads to the men of Laius. The stranger had saved him and gifted him to the king of Corinth.

Oedipus wants to see the shepherd that saved his life and gave him to the stranger. But Jocasta does not want so. When Oedipus asks her to call the shepherd she says: "Ask not; only pray Not to remember.... Tales are vainly told". But Oedipus cannot wait. Jocasta wants him to stop but he would not. She is in great anguish and goes back into her palace in deep pain and despair while Oedipus is looking to gain the knowledge of his past and birth. The shepherd is brought and questioned by Oedipus. The shepherd remembers the stranger and the child but when he is told that the child is Oedipus, he is horror stricken and refuses to tell the origin of Oedipus: "Tis more than death and darker, if I do."

The shepherd is forced to reveal the truth of Oedipus' existence and birth i.e. he is the son of Laius and Jocasta. Therefore, he is the husband of her own mother and father of his own brothers and sisters; he is also the killer of her own father. Both the prophecies had fulfilled. Oedipus says:

"Shed light no more, ye everlasting skies
That know my sin! I have sinned in birth and breath.
I have sinned with Woman. I have sinned with Death."

A messenger enters the scene to inform of the suicide of Jocasta while Oedipus has blinded himself and wants the people to know that he himself is the murderer of his own father. We see Oedipus cursing the one that saved him in childhood:

"My curse, my curse upon him,
That man whom pity held in the wilderness,
Who saved the feet alive from the blood-fetter
And loosed the barb thereof!"
< br>Creon enters the scene and Oedipus requests him:

"Cast me from Thebes ... now, quick ... where none may see
My visage more, nor mingle words with me."

Oedipus requests Creon to cast him out of the country with his daughter but his daughters are taken from him. And Oedipus leaves alone.




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