Jump to Synopsis - It is Sophocles' last surviving play, written shortly before his death in BCE, and the last written of his three Theban plays (the other two being “Oedipus the King” and “Antigone”: in the timeline of the Theban plays, however, the events of “Oedipus at Colonus” occur after “Oedipus the King” and before “Antigone”). Oedipus at Colonus is one of the three Theban plays of the Athenian tragedian Sophocles. It was written shortly before Sophocles' death in BC and  Place premiered‎: ‎Athens. The play begins in the grove of the Furies at Colonus, near Athens. It is several years after Oedipus was banished from Thebes, the city he once ruled. He is now a sorry sight, blind and hobbled, dressed in rags, led by his daughter Antigone. The two stop to rest in the grove.


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The girls beg Theseus to take them, but he reminds them that the place is a secret, and that no one may go there. Everyone exits toward Athens.

Oedipus at Colonus Summary

Analysis and themes[ edit ] There is less action in this play than in Oedipus Rex, and more philosophical discussion. Here, Oedipus discusses his fate as related by the oracle, and claims that he is not fully guilty because his crimes of murder and incest were committed in ignorance.

Despite being blinded and exiled and facing violence from Creon and his sons, in the end Oedipus is accepted and oedipus at clonus summary by Zeus. Historical context[ edit ] In the years between the play's composition and its first performance, Athens underwent many changes.

Defeated by the Spartansthe city was placed under the rule of the Thirty Tyrantsand the citizens who opposed their rule were exiled or executed.


The play contrasts the cities of Athens and Thebes quite oedipus at clonus summary. Thebes is often used in Athenian dramas as a city in which proper boundaries and identities are not maintained, allowing the playwright to explore themes like incest, murder, and hubris in a safe setting.

Fate[ edit ] While the two other plays about Oedipus often bring up the theme of a person's moral responsibility for their destiny, and whether it is possible to rebel against destiny, Oedipus at Colonus shows Oedipus's resolution of the problem.

In "Oedipus Rex," he was told by Tiresias, "You bear your fate and I will bear mine," a message repeated by the Chorus, but scorned oedipus at clonus summary Oedipus, who like his father has believed he can escape his fate.

In "Oedipus at Colonus," he declares that even though fate "dike"which literally means "necessity" in ancient Greek, is something we must suffer as beyond our choice in its power of necessity and is not a person's creation, we must also find a way to work with it.


The key line in the play is when Oedipus declares, "Let us oedipus at clonus summary fight necessity," and Antigone adds, "For you will never see in all the world a man whom God has let escape his destiny!

He has committed two crimes which render him a sort oedipus at clonus summary monster and outcast among men: The chorus agrees to wait for Theseus.

Before the king arrives, Oedipus's other daughter, Ismene, brings news from Thebes. Oedipus's two sons are fighting for control of the city.

Polynices has been banished by his younger brother Eteocles, but has raised an army in Argos and is preparing to attack Thebes. She says the leaders of Thebes want Oedipus to return, but want to keep him at the border of the city, because the oracles say his presence there would protect Thebes.

Oedipus is furious that the Thebans desire to use him in this way. While they wait for the king, he very reluctantly tells the chorus about his oedipus at clonus summary deeds—killing his father and marrying his mother. He again defends himself, saying that he did none of these awful deeds knowingly.

Furthermore, he even claims to be there on a sacred mission, bearing a great gift for the people and asks to see Theseus, king of Athens.

Oedipus pledges allegiance to neither of his feuding sons, contrasting them with his devoted daughters, and throws himself on the mercy and protection of the people of Colonus, who have treated him well thus far.

The Chorus questions Oedipus for details of his incest and patricide but, when King Theseus arrives, the king already appears well informed on all the tragic events, and oedipus at clonus summary with Oedipusoffering him unconditional aid.

Oedipus at Colonus Summary -

Theseus protests that the two cities are on friendly terms, although Oedipus warns him that only the gods are unaffected by the passage of time.

Theseus makes Oedipus a citizen of Athens, and leaves the Chorus to guard him when he leaves. To the mystification of the old men, he hints that he has strange powers and will bring good fortune to the land that provides a place of refuge for him.

Ismene, another daughter of Oedipus, arrives in oedipus at clonus summary grove at Colonus after searching throughout Greece for oedipus at clonus summary father and sister. She brings Oedipus the unhappy news that his two sons, Polynices and Eteocles, have fought for supremacy in Thebes.

Not so fast, Polyneices. You can't just drive your old man out of town and come back for help when it best suits you.