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Scene 4 Notes from Oedipus the King

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Oedipus the King Scene 4

Jocasta goes to the shrine of Apollo, with holy offerings, to pray for Oedipus and to ask the gods to rid Thebes of its pollution. Also, she asks for Oedipus to be less worried and agitated because it scares her, and all Thebans, when their leader is panic-stricken.

As she is doing this, a Corinthian enters and asks where he can find the Oedipus' palace. The elders answer that he is already there, and kind greetings are exchanged. The Corinthian then proceeds to tell Jocasta of the news he bears - that Polybus died a natural death, and the people of Isthmia want to make Oedipus ruler. Jocasta sends for Oedipus and instructs the Corinthian to inform him of the news. After this, Oedipus replies that unless his father died because he missed him too much, the oracles were incorrect. Jocasta agrees.

Topic Tracking: Fate 7

Now, Oedipus faces the fear of sharing his mother's bed, and refuses to return to Corinth as long as she lives.

Topic Tracking: Fate 8

When the Corinthian hears this, he asks him why he fears he will have sex with his mother, and Oedipus tells him what the prophet said. To this, the Corinthian says that Oedipus' fears are unfounded, as Polybus did not father him, nor did Merope give birth to him. The Corinthian then informs Oedipus that he was a gift to his parents, as they had no children; and that he was found in the bush in Mount Kithairon's valleys with his ankles tied together, and that he was given to this Corinthian by a different shepherd, who was one of Laios' herdsmen.

Topic Tracking: Fate 9

Oedipus immediately summons for this herdsman, whom people say is the same servant he has already summoned for. Jocasta now steps in and begs Oedipus not to pursue this; however he has come so close to finding out who he is that he is not ready to let it go. After calling him an 'unlucky man', and begging him not to pursue this matter, Jocasta says to Oedipus that he is a 'poor, poor man'. Although the elders recognize Jocasta's grief, Oedipus thinks that she is upset because she is about to learn that he comes from no distinguished breed. Oedipus insists he wants to learn about his kin.

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