abandoned Medea and his own children in order to remarry with Glauce, the
daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. Jason hopes thereby to advance his own
station, perhaps even to succeed as king.
The nurse testifies to the degree of emotional shoc
wings, which suggest darkness, the unknown, and, most
significantly, terror striking from the skies. The Choruss
supplications to the benevolent gods of lines 168244 are long
past. The gods are still present in this speech, but they are no
longer of any h
822), he proves that he was not merely grandstanding in the first
scene of the play when he expressed his desire to be forthright
with his citizens
and to subject himself to the same laws he imposes upon
others. In his speech at lines 848923, Oedipus show
attached to an unwitting desire to soothe and mother Oedipus.
When Jocasta is not answering Oedipuss questions, she is
calming him down, asking him to go into the palace, telling him
that he has nothing to worry aboutno need to ask more
questionsfor the r
course, solves the riddle before Oedipusshe realizes she is his
mother while he is still imagining himself to be the child of slaves.
Oedipus must realize that something is amiss when Jocasta
leaves the stage screaming, but his speech at lines 11831194 is
Polybuss death without showing the slightest sign of grief. The
moment becomes, in fact, an occasion for near triumph, as
Oedipus believes his doubts about prophecies have been
confirmed. He is now convinced that prophecies are useless. He
even says, Poly
at the end of Oedipus the King [lines 13651422]). Like the typical final- scene
messenger, these characters bear important news that is largely concerned with
events that have not happened onstage. But unlike the typical final-scene
messenger, these chara
Analysis of lines 13111684
The speech of the Chorus, with which this section begins (1311
1350), turns the images of the plowman and ships captain,
which formerly stood for Oedipuss success and ability to
manage the state, into images of his failure. And
the blood of the family members Oedipus has killed (see in
15311537). Oedipuss crimes are presented as a kind of blight on
the land, a plaguesymbolized by the plague with which the play
begins that infects the earth on which Oedipus, his family
and soon after that accuses him of treason. Oedipus sizes up a situation, makes a
judgment, and actsall in an instant. While this confident expedience was
laudable in the first section, it is exaggerated to a point of near absurdity in the
As in Antigone, the entrance of Tiresias signals a crucial turning point in the plot.
But in Oedipus the King, Tiresias also serves an additional role his blindness
augments the dramatic irony that governs the play. Tiresias is blind but can see
when he was the prince of Corinth, he heard at a banquet that he
was not really the son of the king and queen, and so went to the
Oracle of Delphi, which did not answer him but did tell him he
would murder his father and sleep with his mother. Hearing thi
Laius. Questioned further, he answers that it was Laiuss child, and
that Jocasta gave it to him to destroy because of a prophecy that
the child would kill his parents. But instead, the shepherd gave him
to the other shepherd, so that he might be raised as
Summary of lines 10081310
A messenger enters, looking for Oedipus. He tells Jocasta that he
has come from Corinth to tell Oedipus that his father, Polybus, is
dead, and that Corinth wants Oedipus to come and rule there.
Jocasta rejoices, convinced that si
of exile, since he believes that, for some reason, the gods want to
keep him alive. He says that his two sons are men and can take
care of themselves, but asks that Creon take care of his girls,
whom he would like to see one final time.
The girls, Antigon
sobbed and embraced Jocasta. He then took the gold pins that
held her robes and, with them, stabbed out his eyes. He kept
raking the pins down his eyes, crying that he could not bear to see
the world now that he had learned the truth.
Just as the messenge
Analysis of lines 1337
Oedipus is notable for his compassion, his sense of justice, his
swiftness of thought and action, and his candor. At this early stage
in the play, Oedipus represents all that an Athenian audienceor
indeed any audiencecould desire in
punishment for Laiuss murderer, even if the murderer turns
out to be someone close to Oedipus himself.
Sophocles audience knew the ancient story of Oedipus well, and
would therefore interpret the greatness Oedipus exudes in the first
scene as a tragic har
proclaims proudlybut, for the audience, painfullythat he possesses the bed
of the former king, and that marriage might have even created blood-bonds
between him and Laius had Laius not been murdered (294300).
Although the Choruss first ode (168244) piousl
Oedipus still clings to some trappings of leadership, the most pathetic example
being his command to Creon to bury Jocasta as he sees fit. Oedipus finds it
dificult to leave the role of commander, which is why he tries to preempt Creons
power by asking Cr
Important Quotations Explained
1. Fear? What should a man fear? Its all chance, chance rules
our lives. Not a man on earth can see a day ahead, groping
through the dark. Better to live at random, best we can. And as
for this marriage with your
For the balance of the play, Medea engages in a ruse; she
pretends to sympathize with Jason (bringing him into her
confidence) and offers his wife "gifts," a coronet and dress.
Ostensibly, the gifts are meant to convince Glauce to ask her
father to allow
moves from being a passive victim to an aggressor after she
secures his promise of sanctuary.
Messenger - The messenger appears only once in the play-he
relates in gruesome, vivid detail the death scenes of Glauce and
Creon, which occur offstage.
Euripedes' Medea opens in a state of conflict. Jason has
abandoned his wife, Medea, along with their two children. He
hopes to advance his station by remarrying with Glauce, the
daughter of Creon, king of Corinth, the Greek city wher
Fearing a possible plot of revenge, Creon banishes Medea and
her children from the city. After pleading for mercy, Medea is
granted one day before she must leave, during which she plans to
complete her quest for "justice"-at this stage in her thinking, th
Outside of Jason's adopted house in Corinth, a nurse recounts and
laments the chain of events that have lead to the present crisis in
the city, where Medea's "world has turned to enmity" (line 15).
Jason and the
crew of his ship, the Ar
play, has been annihilated, and everything he values has been lost through
the deaths that conclude the tragedy.
The nurse testifies to the degree of emotional shock Jason's "betrayal"
has sparked in Medea: she refuses to eat and spends her days bed-ridde
Medea's first words are cries of helplessness issued from inside
the house, off-stage. She wishes for her own death. The nurse
fears the possible effects of this inflexible mood and sends the
children inside to shelter them. In another off-stage cry, Mede
murdered. Both Creon and the leader of the Chorus try to get
Oedipus to understand that hes concocting fantasies, but
Oedipus is resolute in his conclusions and his fury.
Summary of lines 7071007
Oedipuss wife, Jocasta, enters and convinces Oedipus that h
in the dialogue. The chorus members fully sympathize with Medea's plight,
excepting her eventual decision to murder her own children.
Creon - The King of Corinth, Creon banishes Medea from the city. Although a
minor character, Creon's suicidal embrace of