In Greek mythology, Oedipus first saved the city of Thebes from a plague placed upon it by the Sphinx. He did not defeat the Sphinx through brute force but through intellect when he correctly answered the monster's riddle. He was pronounced King of Thebes but unknowingly married his mother, Jocasta.
The Sphinx had been terrorizing Thebes for an undisclosed amount of time before Oedipus was able to defeat it. The Sphinx placed a great plague over Thebes and refused to remove it until someone correctly answered its riddle. Many heroes attempted to answer the riddle, but each one was eaten alive after answering incorrectly. When Oedipus answered the Sphinx correctly, the Sphinx killed itself.
King Laius received an oracle before Oedipus' birth claiming that a male child produced by Laius would kill him. After Oedipus' birth, Laius sent the newborn to be exposed, but Oedipus was taken to Corinth and raised by the king and queen instead. Oedipus visited an oracle when he was older and was told that he would kill his father and have children with his mother. When he fled, he ran into Laius, who was disrespectful, so Oedipus killed him. Oedipus followed the road to Thebes, where he solved the riddle.Learn More
Achilles, who is characterized as one of the greatest warriors in Greek mythology, was invincible except for the heel of his foot. This vulnerable spot led to his death during the Trojan War, where he fought on the side of the Greeks.Full Answer >
Fate's role in "Oedipus Rex" is to force Oedipus to kill his father and marry his mother. The struggle between fate and free will is a central theme of the play as Oedipus does his best to avoid his prophesied destiny, but ultimately to no avail.Full Answer >
According to the literary department of Ball State University, although Oedipus is not truly responsible for the murder of his father and marriage to this mother, he is the instigator of his own blindness and exile. It is Oedipus's own actions that set the prophecy in motion.Full Answer >
The Chorus in "Oedipus Rex" serves several important functions in the play. The Chorus is composed of a group of elders from Thebes who observe what is happening and react to it as the audience is most likely to respond. The Chorus acts as the bystander who gets to ask the tough questions as well as the observer who explains things the audience does not know.Full Answer >