"... anger knows no old age" [Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 954]
"No mind will become false while it is wise." [Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus 600]
Dionysis -- Biomechanics
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Questions"While I live, no woman will rule me." [Sophocles, Antigone 525]
Notes"You do not love someone you have hated, not even after death." [Sophocles, Antigone 522]
Oedipus Questions Laios' Shepherd About His Past
Summoned by the royal family, the old shepherd who was the only survivor of Laios' murder, arrived to Thebes today. King Oedipus immediately questioned the shepherd about his involvement in King Laios' affairs.
The old shepherd underwent intense interrogation today by Oedipus. Oedipus was reportedly asking the shepherd about his relationship with Laios. The shepherd, whose name is being withheld, was surprisingly tight-lipped about his past, not unlike Tierisias, who came to Thebes before under Oedipus' request. If it had not been for the Corinthian messenger who came bearing life changing news for Oedipus, the king wouldn't have gotten any information from the shepherd.
However, the shepherd did reveal some truth that explained all the events that happened in the past when Laious and Iocaste's child "died" mysteriously. Apparently, according to the shepherd, Iocaste instructed him to get rid of the baby, to which Oedipus proclaimed: "An unspeakable mother!" Furthermore, the shepherd said that instead of killing the child, he pitied it and gave him to the messenger who used to be a herdsman in his youth.
All of these events occurred because an oracle prophesied many years ago that the child borne to Laios and Iocaste will grow up to kill his father and marry his mother. Fearing the fulfillment of this prophecy, the king and queen allegedly instructed the shepherd to get rid of the child. However, the shepherd claimed that he had given the child to the messenger and the messenger in turn gave the child to King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth. If all of this is true, then that child must be Oedipus, which means that he had inadvertently fulfilled the prophecy by killing his biological father, Laios, and marrying his biological mother, Iocaste.
When Oedipus realized this, he exclaimed in disbelief and horror: "Ah God! It was true! All the prophecies!--Now, O Light, may I look on you for the last time! I, Oedipus, Oedipus, damned in his birth, in his marriage damned, damned in the blood he shed with his own hand! Afterwards, he rushed into the palace, leaving the royal court in a mixture state of amazement and despair.
Program: An Hour with Doctor Freud:
OEDIPUS COMPLEX: the childhood desire to sleep with the mother and to kill the father. The source of this complex in his Introductory Lectures (Twenty-First Lecture): "You all know the Greek legend of King Oedipus, who was destined by fate to kill his father and take his mother to wife, who did everything possible to escape the oracle's decree and punished himself by blinding when he learned that he had none the less unwittingly committed both these crimes" (16.330). Sophocles' play, Oedipus Rex, illustrates a formative stage in each individual's psychosexual development, when the young child transfers his love object from the breast (the oral phase) to the mother. At this time, the child desires the mother and resents (even secretly desires the murder) of the father. (The Oedipus complex is closely connected to the castration complex.) Such primal desires are, of course, quickly repressed but, even among the mentally sane, they will arise again in dreams or in literature. Among those individuals who do not progress properly into the genital phase, the Oedipus Complex can still be playing out its psychdrama in various displaced, abnormal, and/or exaggerated ways...
"We must not wage vain wars with necessity." [Sophocles, Antigone 1105]
Enter CREON."No mind will become false while it is wise." [Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus 600]My royal cousin, say, Menoeceus' child,
What message hast thou brought us from the god?
CREONGood news, for e'en intolerable ills,
Finding right issue, tend to naught but good.
OEDIPUSHow runs the oracle? thus far thy words
Give me no ground for confidence or fear.
CREONIf thou wouldst hear my message publicly,
I'll tell thee straight, or with thee pass within.
OEDIPUSSpeak before all; the burden that I bear
Is more for these my subjects than myself.
CREONLet me report then all the god declared.
King Phoebus bids us straitly extirpate
A fell pollution that infests the land,
And no more harbor an inveterate sore.
OEDIPUSWhat expiation means he? What's amiss?
CREONBanishment, or the shedding blood for blood.
This stain of blood makes shipwreck of our state.
OEDIPUSWhom can he mean, the miscreant thus denounced?
CREONBefore thou didst assume the helm of State,
The sovereign of this land was Laius.
OEDIPUSI heard as much, but never saw the man.
CREONHe fell; and now the god's command is plain:
Punish his takers-off, whoe'er they be.
OEDIPUSWhere are they? Where in the wide world to find
The far, faint traces of a bygone crime?
CREONIn this land, said the god; "who seeks shall find;
Who sits with folded hands or sleeps is blind."
OEDIPUSWas he within his palace, or afield,
Or traveling, when Laius met his fate?
CREONAbroad; he started, so he told us, bound
For Delphi, but he never thence returned.
OEDIPUSCame there no news, no fellow-traveler
To give some clue that might be followed up?
CREONBut one escape, who flying for dear life,
Could tell of all he saw but one thing sure.
OEDIPUSAnd what was that? One clue might lead us far,
With but a spark of hope to guide our quest.
CREONRobbers, he told us, not one bandit but
A troop of knaves, attacked and murdered him.
OEDIPUSDid any bandit dare so bold a stroke,
Unless indeed he were suborned from Thebes?
CREONSo 'twas surmised, but none was found to avenge
His murder mid the trouble that ensued.
OEDIPUSWhat trouble can have hindered a full quest,
When royalty had fallen thus miserably?
CREONThe riddling Sphinx compelled us to let slide
The dim past and attend to instant needs.
OEDIPUSWell, I will start afresh and once againExeunt OEDIPUS and CREON.
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.
"Do not make commands where you are not the master." [Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 840]
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