Many significant elements of the myth of Oedipus take place prior to the events of this play, although some are alluded to in the text. Firstly, Oedipus is the biological son of Laius and Jocasta , the king and queen of Thebes. Curse upon Laius[ edit ] The misfortunes of Thebes are believed to be the result of a curse laid upon Laius for the time he had violated the sacred laws of hospitality Greek: xenia. Laius seduces or abducts Chrysippus, and rapes him.
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This is Oedipus. He, who read the famous riddle, and we hailed chief of men, All envied his power, glory, and good fortune. Now upon his head the sea of disaster crashes down. Mortality is mans burden. Keep your eyes fixed on your last day. Call no man happy until he reaches it, and finds rest from suffering. As I was never a religious person and therefore never payed much attention to it - and unfortunately never decently studied Greek mythology -, I used to unconsciously attribute to the Bible the origins of all stories which seemed to me as too ancient to properly date.
I stand corrected now. Every time I read an ancient text I recurrently find myself to blame because of the same mistake: being surprised by its quality despite being written so long ago. An artist, while he creates, is not helped by the efforts of all the others - like scientists are - and depends upon his own individual truths.
The ancient art is in no way a primitive version of the art created by our contemporaries. So it should not be astonishing to me that a text written thousands of years ago possesses the same qualities or refinement of awarded pieces that only now cracked their fifty years of age mark. The pace, the development of the action and disentanglement of this intricate plot was written so masterfully that it requires little investigation in discovering the reasons why it became so influential to the subsequent generations.
The ability with which he created, sustained and solved the various mysteries that surround this classical tragedy is very remarkable, as well as a striking mixture of pity and horror that the themes developed here successfully imposes on the reader. After a plague threatens his kingdom, he is begged by a chorus of Thebans for help and Oedipus sends for an oracle in order to find some guidance. As it turns out, Tiresias, the blind prophet, believes the King is the only one to blame for his malady.
At first outraged and, because of it, incensed into proving his innocence, he starts connecting the clues that he receives from various bits of information gathered by different sources. Now it was clear to him that, besides murdering his father, he has slept with his own mother and fathered children that were also his brothers and sisters. Part of their heroism is exactly accepting to endure serious consequences, not once pleading blamelessness.
Even later, in Shakespeare, we were still to find six or seven characters dying just like that, entire families decimated because of the belief that there could be no way out once the universe had programmed their fates. When I found out there was one Edipo Re , directed by Pasolini, I instantly picked it to watch as I imagined that controversial material filmed by controversial director could only result in very interesting movie - to say the least!
Much to my surprise, the ick factor was greatly downplayed and this time the Italian director focused more on the emotional aspects of his narrative than on the sexual ones. His rendition was very faithful to the story, although the linear narrative lacked the sophistication employed by Sophocles that chose to slowly reveal details of the plot by making use of different characters referring to past events. The power of the prophecy and the influence in human lives by the Gods were also not as active as in the original story.