down by his wife Jocasta and the persistent entreats of the chorus. Creon is banished (not killed) and by this behaviour Oedipus has exposed an unreasonable and impulsive side of his nature.

697-862 third episode

In the following scene Jocasta relates to Oedipus how an oracle had prophesied the death of king Laius many years ago. She recalls the story that on hearing the oracle the new-born child had been cast out into the mountains to meet an unavoidable death. Convinced that the child must have died there, she then recalls the circumstances of king Laius' death: that he had been killed not, as the oracle had foretold, by his son, but by some alien robbers at a place where three roads meet. At this point Oedipus is struck by a creeping suspicion in remembering a disturbingly similar episode where he killed a stranger on the road. He reveals to Jocasta how he grew up in Corinth thinking he was the son of Polybus and then, on finding out about the fatal oracle, fled from his supposed home to never see his parents again. He relates how he killed a stranger at a place where three roads join and realises in terrible lamentation that the stranger almost certainly must have been king Laius. The last hope, which might absolve Oedipus from guilt, is the shepherd, who escaped the deadly quarrel. For, he had reported that more than one robber had killed Laius while in fact Oedipus was on his own.

863-910: third choral ode (second stasimon)

During this choral ode the chorus sing of the divine laws, which are to be revered and venerated. They also pray for punishment of those who are guilty of such impious crime and reinforce the prayer by special reference to Apollo.

911-1085: fourth episode

Dreading the outcome of this mystery Jocasta prays to Apollo that he might save them from this curse. Meanwhile a messenger has come to announce the death of Polybus, whom everyone still believes to have been Oedipus' father. Relieved that the oracle has so far turned out to be unfulfilled (for it was not Oedipus who had killed Polybus) there still remains some doubt about the second half of the oracle - that Oedipus was fated to marry his mother. In the course of the dialogue, the messenger reveals the truth that Polybus in fact was not the father of Oedipus. He explains that he had received Oedipus as a child by a shepherd, some servant of Laius' and that he had handed him on to King Polybus, who reared him as his own son. In order to solve the riddle of his true parentage at last, Oedipus sends for the shepherd-servant of Laius by whom the messenger had received Oedipus. Jocasta seems very reluctant throughout the whole scene to find out about the truth. When she can no longer postpone realisation she dashes from the stage.

1086-1109: fourth choral ode (third stasimon)

In the ensuing ode the chorus provides a brief relief from tension between the interrogations of Oedipus first with the messenger and secondly with the shepherd. With a surprisingly optimistic tone in their words they sing of the next day that will bring to light Oedipus' real mother and father.

1110-1185: fifth episode

The shepherd enters and is faced with the messenger. Though clearly unwilling and hesitant he agrees to know the messenger but he is too scared and does not want to answer the questions about having received and handed on a certain baby. Only after insistent and emphatic threats from Oedipus he admits that it was king Laius' own son whom he had been ordered to kill but in his pity had given to the messenger. Faced with the truth that his parents had planned to kill him as a new-born child and realising that the oracle has turned out to be true, Oedipus breaks out in terrible lamentation.

1186-1222: fifth choral ode (fourth stasimon)

The pessimistic overtone of shock and human misery stands in strong contrast with the general mood of the preceding ode. With Oedipus' fate as their chief example they mourn over the unhappiness of mortals. In order to reinforce the terrible downfall of Oedipus, they recall with great sympathy the honour, with which they had formerly esteemed him as their king.

1223-1296: sixth episode

The attendant enters and speaks to the chorus of the terrible sight he has seen. In a gruesomely reported speech he describes that Jocasta had locked herself into her private chamber and hanged herself. When Oedipus had opened the doors by force and saw his wife (and mother) hanging strangled from a noose

  By PanEris using Melati.

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