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Notes on Oedipus the King Themes

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Oedipus the King Topic Tracking: Exile

Exile 1: Oedipus promises not to harm the man that comes forward, or is known to have killed Laios. He is not interested in taking this man's life, only that he no longer live in Thebes, so that the city can get better. He therefore promises only to exile Laios' killer.

Exile 2: Tiresias foresees, and tells everyone, that Oedipus will be driven out of Thebes in terror by the curses of his parents. Not only will he be exiled, he will be exiled blind, poor, and weak, and will have to use a stock to guide himself to another land.

Exile 3: After he accuses Creon of seeking his death and conspiring with Tiresias to dethrone him, the elders ask Oedipus to calm down and believe Creon, for they do not believe that Creon is a fool, and they believe his oath because nobody should cast off a friend as unworthy or doubt their word. Oedipus says that when they seek support for Creon, they seek his death or exile from Thebes. This statement brings grief to the elders because they support and believe Oedipus.

Exile 4: After her son is born, Jocasta has him exiled, as his fate was for him to kill his father and sleep with his mother.

Exile 5: When the servant who had witnessed the killing returned to Thebes, he asked to be exiled and asked Jocasta to "send him to the fields, the sheep pastures, so far he couldn't even lay eyes on Thebes."

Exile 6: When asked about his fate, Apollo told Oedipus that there were terrible things in store for him. Among these was the news that he was to mate with his own mother and kill his father. As a result, Oedipus decided to leave Corinth and live elsewhere, so that he would not see these oracles fulfilled.

Exile 7: After all that has happened, Jocasta kills herself, and Oedipus blinds himself and asks to be exiled from Thebes so that he will not be seen by anyone. This fulfils Tiresias' prophesy.

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