Oracle’s prediction Legend has
it that an oracle predicted King Lai, who ruled in Thebes, that he would be killed by his own son. When the king had a son, Lai decided to kill him in order to avoid a terrible fate in this way. But the child, who was ready to become ravaged by wild beasts, was adopted by the Corinthian king Polyb and his wife. They named the boy Oedipus and raised as their own son.
As a young boy, Oedipus went to Delphi to learn from the oracle his fate. And he was predicted that he would take his father’s life and marry his own mother. Children who are born from this marriage will be cursed by the gods.
Oedipus listened in horror to the oracle and made the decision not to return to Corinth so as not to meet his parents.
Oedipus set out to seek happiness in other countries. On the way to Thebes, the young man met a chariot, in which there was some noble old man, accompanied by servants. An angry old man, to whom Oedipus did not wish to give way, struck the youth with a sceptre. Enraged, Oedipus killed the elder with the blow of the road staff, after which, driven by anger, interrupted the accompanying old man’s servants. Subsequently, it is revealed that in that road quarrel Oedipus took the life of his real father, King Lai.
Oedipus and Sphinx
approaching Thebes, Oedipus found its inhabitants dejected and depressed. It turned out that near the city gate settled a monster – the Sphinx, constantly demanding victims. The sphinx had a lion torso, a woman’s head and eagle wings. Travelers passing by, the monster forced to solve the same riddle. But nobody could guess her. And then the Sphinx was tearing hapless losers with sharp iron claws.
The riddle of the Sphinx sounded like: “What living creature walks in the morning on four legs, in the afternoon on two, and in the evening on three?”. Oedipus, to whom the Sphinx had asked this question, replied that it was about a person. At the dawn of life, man crawls on all fours, at adulthood he walks on his feet, and with the onset of old age he rests on a staff.
Hearing this correct answer, the Sphinx in despair rushed to the abyss, where he died, crashing to his death.
The tragedy of Oedipus
Oedipus, who defeated the formidable Sphinx, was greeted in Thebes with honors and even given to him as a wife the queen who became a widow, consort of the deceased Lai. For two decades Oedipus reigned happily in Thebes. But then a terrible epidemic broke out in the city, claiming many lives. The oracle in Delphi, addressed by the townspeople, replied that their city was cursed. To remove the curse, one must drive away the one who killed King Lai.
Oedipus took to the oracle’s advice and cursed the unknown assassin of the former king, sentencing him to exile in absentia and vowing to find him in any way. Great was Oedipus’s amazement, when a soon wise blind old man called him the very murderer Oedipus sought. The
king was engulfed in horror. Everything previously predicted to him came true. He really killed his own father and married his mother. After learning the truth, the Theban queen in despair committed suicide. And Oedipus, completely unbeknownst from grief, had his own eyes out, so that he could not see his home town or his children. Becoming blind and decrepit, Oedipus went into exile.