Notes on Objects & Places from Oedipus the King

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Oedipus the King Objects/Places

Thebes: The city in which all events take place. Thebes is deteriorating, with infertile soil, and women who are giving birth only to stillborns. As a result, its ruler, Oedipus, wants to find out what is wrong and has sent his brother-in-law, Creon, to an oracle. This oracle says that there is someone living in Thebes who is of bad blood.

Sphinx's riddle: Thebes was cursed by this riddle, which Oedipus solved when he first came to Thebes. As a result, he was considered the savior of the city, and people expect him to save Thebes again from its current troubles.

Shrine: Every time someone has a problem, they go to the appropriate god's shrine to pray. The common belief is that the gods will solve problems or show people the road to a solution.

Corinth: The city where Oedipus grew up. He left Corinth because he was scared of his fate--that he would kill his father and share a bed with his mother. He left thinking that Polybus and Melope were his true parents.

Fate: Running from fate drives everyone's actions. Oedipus tried to avoid his fate by leaving Corinth, so he wouldn't kill his father and wed his mother. Jocasta discarded her son because of his cursed fate. However, Oedipus ends up running directly into his and his family's inescapable fate.

Oracles: Fate is predicted by the oracles, and the elders believe that it is a sin not to believe them. Jocasta, however, does not believe in the oracles when they predict that her son will kill his father and have sex with her, because she thinks her son is dead. In trying to convince Oedipus that the oracles do not know what they are talking about, she brings out the truth--that Oedipus is her son and that the oracles have predicted their fate correctly.

Isthmia: Corinth is a part of this land. The Corinthian comes to Thebes to tell Oedipus that his father has died, and that the people of Isthmia want him to become their new ruler.

Mount Kithairon: The mountain where Oedipus was given to the Corinthian, when a herdsman from Thebes was ordered to get rid of the child. This is also the place Oedipus chooses for his new home when he is exiled from Thebes.

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