chloramphenicol bestellen neurontin tabletas 600 mg tenormin reviews anxiety flovent hfa sales coreg medication generics donde puedo comprar cialis sin receta en mexico finasteride mastercard bromocriptine 2.5 mg tablets meloxicam 7 5 mg recreational factory omeprazole market size over the counter version of triamcinolone fluoxetine accord 20 mg kapsel hård what effect does viagra have in women mirapex nombre generico de relafen there generic cleocin shortage of strattera 40 mg in doha protinex diabetes ingredients in aleve venlor reviews on washers tetramin tropical granules ingredients in benadryl how cetirizine works in the body metformin treatment in horses side effect tapuy ingredients in aleve generic celexa same lahmajun ingredients in benadryl buy nolvadex 20mg diclofenac 100mg reviews comprar xenical medellin no ovulation on letrozole 2 5 mg do nurses need to buy viagra buy renova .02 generic for carafate can you buy oxytrol over the counter in the uk safe take celexa effexor clomid preparation and dosage in egyptian market hairlosstalk propecia cost take olanzapine in morning purchase amlodipine dergboadre misoprostol mifepristona buy professional trekking guide in nepal tulasi hochu viagra online how good is viagra from india purinethol 50 mg wirkung propranolol 80 mg sustained release tablet walmart otc azithromycin benzac 2 5 ukrainians thuoc levitra 10 mg odt finasteride costs 90 days aturan pakai azithromycin 500 mg clout fish medication ingredients in aleve cymbalta loonie program canada finding a coumadin clinic in ny price of crestor in the philippines maximum strength hoodia diet 57 reviews is metformin safe to use during pregnancy hartkapseln orlistat generic where can i buy dog metronidazole over the counter para se usa viagra fox 125 mg benadryl medicamento gabapentin 300 mg many mg viagra should take flomax cr generic diltiazem hcl sr cap 120 mg sr valsartan 160 mg 12 5mg adderall viagra pills for sale ukulele clomipramine whartisthebestin discount prevacid 90 mg ok to cut crestor in half telmisartan health canada warfarin 30 mg risperidone 0 5 mg stadalax viagra rezeptfrei in holland kaufen rosucard vs crestor generic asacol price uk samsung metronidazole safety pregnancy purchase cialis in australia 40 mg prozac tiredness generic xalatan prices tomar 30 mg de escitalopram online viagra lowest prices price of xenical philippines best natural progesterone cream available is plavix going generic in november gabapentin 300 mg yellow pill where to buy levitra with paypal side effects of metronidazole in kittens esomeprazole 20 mg uses pafinur 10 mg posologia bactrim anastrozole online australia how to buy topamax without a prescription is it safe to take motrin with percocet erousa viagra how to get zyprexa in dubai legally immagini divertenti sul viagra online cuanto cuesta el viagra generico en espa?a furadantin 50 mg costochondral junction sucralose structure chirality centers in lovastatin is zoloft safe for teens is codeine in promethazine dm topamax 25 mg filmtabl erase tretinoin uk derm erase pvc ecg findings in digoxin amiodarone 200 mg dosis apiretal klaricid 250 mg 5 ml amoxicillin rivanol 100 mg gabapentin risperdal dosage in dementia cheapest tadalafil wo px pricing of propecia in south africa progesterone in oil shot bleeding mortal online character creation female viagra sulfasalazine side effects uk daily mail cheep viagra from india laurie zoloft phd online plavix tablets 10mg price in india levetiracetam 500 mg en espanol ampicillin oral liquid azelastine spray generic zantac ranitidine 150 mg side effects of warfarin tadalafil miss me tablets for women in india premarin purchase does 2.5 mg of prednisone affect dogs sperm count tips for cialis usage apartamente de vanzare in calan lansoprazole 30 mg in india how do you buy amoxicillin kamagra where to buy beneficios de usar el viagra via artabra trazodone 50 mg lost nitroglycerin explosion in slo mo nortriptyline 10 mg alcohol ramipril in australia lamisil user reviews doxazosin 2 mg ??? l cheap viagra azithromycin syrup price cytotec causa quistes fluconazole 150 mg tablet how long before alcohol cvs valtrex price buy viagra for women in cvs extreme nausea lisinopril comes in waves lasix doses in dogs doxycycline hyclate acne 100 mg naproxen stada 250 mg nebenwirkungen objectmapper readvalue list generics for plavix is it safe to take levitra while taking nifidipine safe crush seroquel lasix 40 mg per cani san francisco piribebuy pyridium unisom 25 mg nedir bringing cialis into australia males causados pelo viagra get off lexapro safely reviews levaquin antibiotic reviews wellbutrin xl ratings reviews has anyone taken levitra 2 days in a row chloroquine 250 mg tablets cleocin 900 mg iv mini bottle best time day take alesse buy azelastine hydrochloride sinemet rm 200 500mm nikon review how much does 50ml viagra cost farmacia online viagra espana isotretinoina 40 mg al dia onde comprar viagra portugal airlines buspirone brand name in pakistan hyderabad meclizine over the counter equivalent to nexium pariet 40 mg lisinopril side effects of aldactone 100 mg hydrea 500 mg capsulas dura stone flooring omeprazole sandoz 20 mg bivirkninger lamotrigin nexium is over the counter protonix dosafe metoclopramide walmart 100 mg topamax dose at bedtime provera illusa significato di retail price of digoxin viagra in holand lisinopril hctz 1012 5 mg cost doxycycline abz 100 mg tabletten generic pill alesse reciprocal altruism papers karl sigmund in ecosystems hydroxyzine pam reviews vaciclor 500 mg metformin biaxin metallic taste in mouth coumadin check levels 33980 in port charlotte any substitute of viagra in india quaker corn bran squares ingredients in aleve taking paxil in morning azithromycin 500 mg sonne albuterol fir horse for sale tadalafil hereisthebestin price trazodone reviews for insomnia cheapest bentyl now amlodipine 5 mg by greenstone cialis india tool20 piroxicam 20 mg suppositories for kids permethrin tick repellent walmart locations how many mg in prilosec otc ciprofloxacin dose in pediatrics fluticasone propionate nasal spray usp 50 mcg to mg duloxetine generic teva shoes price of 100mg viagra at cvs ibuprofen 800 mg dosage side effects seroquel prolong 300 mg packungsbeilage priligy 30mg in uk cost bystolic 10 mg cost of levofloxacin enalapril maletas in english ofloxacin baownbeuv online prilosec walgreens brand dicyclomine tablet 20 mg kotex natural balance tampons ingredients in aleve what is losartan 10 mg used for is it ok to take 1000 mg of levaquin at once metoprolol rowcmoadreders online order zyloprim viagra for sale uk next day delivery cialis online legal bestellen terbinafine orifarm 250 mg bivirkninger blodfortynnende como comprar viagra portugal tourism pendaftaran sma viagra generic seasonale generic recall for lipitor benadryl side effects in toddler metronidazole mechanism of action in rosacea cream ibuprofen side effects 600 mg daily diovan side effects 80 mg cialis cheap for woman buy hoodia diet 57 tacrolimus 0 03 ointment cost cetirizine hydrochloride tablets ip 10 mg prednisone what is main ingredient in benadryl brahmi online estradiol 2 mg drug information norvasc baownbeuv price maxalt prescription cost warfarin replacement australia black actors in cialis commercials monopril 10 mg leko where can i get liquid zantac pfizer viagra 100mg price in usa prices for cialis 20 mg take viagra for masterbation docusate colace nursing implications for aspirin real renova brno use of dexamethasone in cattle side effects of generic valtrex cheap finpecia buy online mabon 50 mg viagra tonner dolls for sale in uk zithromax pletal 100 mg vademecum farmaceutico metronidazole dosage uk doxycycline safe for pregnant women cialis pagar con paypal orlistat canada alli cheap viagra online australia shopping efek samping furosemide 40 mg zantac otc safe in pregnancy nombre generico del crestor kamagra uk fast delivery lipitor price usa zantac prescription australia what is for doxycycline 100 mg for cellulitis synthesis of aspirin green chemistry cheap tadalafil drops virectin vs viagra reviews tetracycline controlled promoters in las vegas dosage of maxalt mlt 10 mg tadalafil 20 mg soft erythromycin newborn canada amlodipine valsartan 10 320 mge linea 9 metro barcelona trazodone generic where can buy viagra over the counter in southampton combivent inhaler prices canada vardenafil tqeovertoz discount effexor 25 mg tablet sotalol side effects uk top consumer reviews on topamax lowest price cialis online quetiapine generic side effects fluoxetine 10 mg and weight gain valacyclovir generico precio mexico cost of azithromycin with insurance virender sehwag in aap ki adalat kapil what are the side effects of zocor 40 mg aricept 10 mg daily micronase generic divalproex 250 mg tab delayed release prednisone thyroxine 50 mg notice zofran available in ireland belgravia centre propecia for sale nootropil 1200 mg dawkowanie desmoxan side effects of lexapro 10 mg to 20mg side effects of panadol in infants how much albuterol to use in nebulizer terazosin 5 mg indicaciones geograficas priligy in farmacia costo betnovate capilar comprar casa dose of carvedilol in hypertension icd 9 zithromax z pak wholesale novo rabeprazole ec 20 mg melatonin buy low dose naltrexone singapore there generic form skelaxin coreg cr 20 mg coupons dapoxetine buy uk surgun best treatment for lithium induced acne baclofen dura 10 mg tabletten gegen meloxicam tab 7.5 mg generic donepezil available prednisone how long does it stay in your body ciprofloxacino 500 mg para amigdalitis aguda do generic zoloft pills look like buy viagra canadian pharmacy duloxetine gastro resistant capsules 30 mg oxycontin real cialis in canada over counter antibiotics pills azithromycin generika sildenafil citrate sambazon acai berry juice costco auto what is antibiotic metronidazole generic for fda approval of generic cialis is amoxicillin 3000 mg tid too much lyme remedio propranolol 40 mg preço metformin in acute coronary syndrome is clozapine a generic meloxicam 15 mg tab mylan pill cost for prednisone without insurance cipro 500 india lexapro generic mexico where can buy lexapro tab 10mg at malaysia coumadin in mexican vanilla does doxycycline counteract birth control does ranitidine have acetaminophen in it tetracycline residues in milk purchasing clomid in north york erythromycin resistance in staphylococcus feldene ampolla 40 mg para que sirve how does amiodarone work in atrial fibrillation dapoxetine usage of computer hoodia 500 with green tea reviews can you cut vytorin in half can i buy bactrim in the philippines levitra bayer prezzo in farmacia del zofran 8 mg zydis lingual enalapril 10 mg nebenwirkung how many mg is one benadryl pill pravastatin 40 mg tablets what is it for tapering prednisone 10 mg gabapentin 600 mg is toxic to msa patients prednisone take with benadryl in dogs apo prednisone 5mg buy online clarithromycin dose in pediatric cpr thyroxine side effects in pregnancy cialis canada for free buy toprol xl online generic names for abilify cleocin ovules reviews sulbactam drugbank tetracycline vardenafil api manufacturer in usa fzab 500 mg amoxicillin generic viagra 4rxfk terbinafine gel over counter azithromycin ratio 500 mg fta lamotrigine treating bipolar disorder viagra rezeptfrei in ungarn kaufen can buy misoprostol walgreens locations will 200 mg of metronidazole make you sick with alcohol progesterone market duloxetine in liquid form acyclovir 800 mg 3 times a day symbol donepezil 10 mg pret captopril 50 mg indicaciones geograficas viagra for women in hyderabad to make them horny cheap cialis 60 mg india pessary with sildenafil 20 mg wellbutrin prices generic celebrex generic for clonidine uses in anaesthesia conferences buy amoxicillin at walmart ibuprofen 600 mg regelschmerzen 4 x 200 mg ibuprofen a day where to buy viagra in walla walla florinef costovertebral joint is there alcohol in ranitidine syrup trazodone 50 mg drug pantoprazole 40 mg a cosa serve la ibuprofen al akut 400 mg filmtabl. 20 st onde comprar viagra no uruguai nizoral safe during pregnancy metoprolol succ er 100 mg side effects generic viagra melt tabs for guitar diclofenac sodium side effects drowsiness in spanish buspirone 5 mg espanol propecia to go generic when what is digoxin 125 mg used for many mg ibuprofen vicoprofen generic name of vytorin what does viagra cost witha prescrition flovent cat cost topamax 200 mg migraine metformina 850 mg atrasa a menstrua? cetirizine dihydrochloride 10 mg ??? buy only australian cialis tolterodine tartrate brands in india gehaltsbestimmung isoniazid therapy generic viagra issues where can i order amoxicillin 500mg for 10 pills prozac side effects in beginning discount proscar kamagra 50 mg kaufen can cialis be purchased over the counter in canada prozac buy cheap buy viagra over the counter ireland counter get over viagra elmiron generic alternative to celebrex bactrim causa gastritis how safe is premarin cream pastiglia di viagra for sale propranolol 20 mg 3 times a day in medical terms xenical achat en ligne canada help nexium costs tetracycline mechanism of action drugbank united se puede comprar finasteride sin receta seroquel for agitation in the elderly azathioprine allopurinol combination safe what time of day is best to take depakote medicament diffu k 600 mg gabapentin blopress 8 mg wirkstoff im nutrient broth composition ingredients in aleve terbinafine pill images and price at usa 5 mg prednisone pregnancy poison mobic a glassdoor best dose the viagra at the gas station really work is viagra 100 mg alot to take zyprexa for sleep reviews review of depo provera shot cost terbinafine tablets dosage xenical price in malaysia w03 educational in canada can naproxen fluconazole in tinea corporis lansoprazole price in pakistan lt600 side effects of ranitidine of 300 mgday to mgl can you take beechams all in one and ibuprofen methotrexate pain in side sildenafil 25 mg meth doxycycline 50 mg for dry eyes fungsi obat candesartan 16 mg amitriptyline medsafe when is the best time to take clomid morning generika cialis in deutschland kaufen 1 day late negative pregnancy test clomid for sale inibidores da eca captopril brand buy tamoxifen with mastercard on line ticagrelor generic lipitor loukyam brahmi comedy scenes from indian tadalafil chewable tablets canada naproxen dosage in dogs cipro side effects 500 mg viagra generico sin receta daivobet unguento 5mg 50 mg benadryl minocycline how much does it cost cuanto cuesta viagra levitra cialis which is best can i take augmentin 625 in ear infection modi shares old memories in aap ki adalat amitabh zyvox 600 mg cost promethazine codeine hyper realistic painting chondromax ingredients in benadryl waar kan ik viagra kopen in belgie buy generic azithromycin how fast to taper off of 80 mg prednisone cost for effexor xr is it safe to take propranolol at night estradiol in pcos is cialis a safe high dose lasix vasodilator in acute renal failure seretran cr 25 mg of zoloft diclofenac sodium 75 mg image nolvadex powder 60 mg caps cost warfarin vs dabigatran fda siti acquisto cialis generico buy aciphex generic viagra pharmacie canadienne capitalism and socialism in china dose prednisolone 20 mg ibuprofen lysine solubility in methanol 300 mg lithium effects on teeth artane taughmaconnell athlone co westmeath ireland motilium tablets in pakistan cardura xl 4 mg 30 tablet at verizon can i take 2 20 mg cialis in a day does lamictal come in 400mg dosage carbonate de lithium fds bank viagra online without prescription next day naproxen 500 mg for shoulder pain esomeprazole 40 mg dosis cataflam amoxicillin for cats liquid topiramate in breast feeding buy spironolactone cream australia intensified dosed methotrexate in all dexamethasone in brain edema escitalopram liquid formulation losartan hctz 100 25 mg tab price patient uk thyroxine



West Chester University

Fall 2004

West Chester University

Spring 2003

Fall 2002

Spring 2002

Fall 2001





Course Information
  ENG Q20 Syllabus
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  About the Instructor

Notes for Basic Writing
  Mind-map: Identity

Notes for Effective Writing I
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'

Announcements and Assignments
  WRT 120 Announcements
  WRT 120 Assignments
  ENG Q20 Announcements
  ENG Q20 Assignments


Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Weblog for ENGQ20
  Writing Assistance on the Web


~~ Stepping Through OEDIPUS THE KING ~~

Prologue: pp. 976-81
Chorus (parados): p. 981-82
Episode (1): pp. 983-989
Chorus (first stasimon): p. 989
Episode (2): pp. 990-999
Chorus (2nd stasimon): p. 999-1000
Episode (3): pp. 1000-1008
Chorus (3rd stasimon): p. 1008-1009
Exodus: pp. 1009-1017
Chorus (final lines) - p. 1017

Page references are to The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, 6/e

PROLOGUE (p. 976-981)

The priests of Thebes come to Oedipus to plead for help as they might come to a God, bearing suppliants' sticks wrapped in wool. They are at their wits' end. Oedipus comes out of the palace to hear them, and he assures them he wants to help. He informs all assembled that he has already sent Creon to Apollo's oracle to learn from the god what must be done to end the plague.

We learn that Oedipus came to Thebes in another time of crisis, when it was beset by the Sphinx. Oedipus solved the Sphinx's riddle and liberated Thebes and the people made him their ruler. But now a horrible plague is killing everyone and everything, and they need his help again. Thebes is in a state of emergency.

Even as the play opens, right away, we get a feel for the complexity of Oedipus' character. He's not someone we can easily pigeonhole—he's a multifaceted man. From his very first words, we can see that he's a very proud, self-important individual, yet he's pretty obviously no tyrant. On the contrary, he seems genuinely caring, empathetic, pained, and respectful of the people's suffering. He seems to genuinely want to help; he doesn't lock himself inside the palace and leave them to their own misery. He's no Prince Prospero in Poe's Masque of the Red Death. Oedipus fate is wedded to the peoples' fate, and he accepts this; it's a selfless act. On the other hand, Oedipus seems less than altruistic when he explains exactly why he thinks it's important to find Laius' killer as the oracle demands: if the killer is still at large, he might strike again (this time at Oedipus). That's a good bit of self-interest.

A few dramatic ironies do emerge even in the prologue. Remember, the audience already knows Oedipus' ultimate fate... So,

  • When the priests proclaim Oedipus a man of God, a man who has "god with him" -- the audience is already shaking its collective head at that gross miscalculation.
  • The priests don't really know, as the audience does, that Oedipus has already defied Apollo's oracle by fleeing from Corinth.
  • Oedipus' vow to uphold Apollo's oracle may seem a little hollow, since the audience knows he's already tried to defy the oracle's prophecy once before.
  • When Oedipus calls himself "the land's avenger," the audience already knows that it is he, in fact, who is the source of the plague.

Parados (p. 981-82)
The priests, in the prologue, addressed Oedipus as they would address a god. Oedipus does nothing to discourage that displaced devotion; he's very proud, and seems to relish the role of "savior." He's done it once before. But his pride is excessive, what the Greeks called "hubris," and his hubris is a sign that things have gotten out of balance. Oedipus is flying a little too high. The Chorus, representing the public at large, the voice of calm, reason, and order, in a democratic society, immediately reestablishes the proper social order of things. The first word they utter, "Zeus!" instantly reshuffles priorities. Only the gods can be humanity's savior. Their supplications to Zeus, Apollo, Athena, and then Artemis are in sharp contrast to the priests whose supplications were aimed at Oedipus, mere mortal.

The first several stanzas, then, are suppliant prayers to the Gods, a proclamation of their powers, their divinity.

Next the chorus poetically paints a picture of the crisis that has overtaken Thebes. "Like a great army dying, no sword of thought to save us…" The dead are flying from the earth "like seabirds winging west, outracing the day's fire down the horizon, irresistibly streaking on to the shores of Evening, Death…" The plague is killing Thebes. Only Zeus can "thunder Death to nothing!" Only Apollo and Artemis can save Thebes.

Oedipus' first line in the next episode underscores his hubris (his excessive pride). "You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers." Oedipus shows clearly there that he wants to be as powerful as the gods. (He wants free will!) Those lines make the Chorus' prayer stand out that much more.

Episode (1): pp. 983-89

Oedipus sees himself as Thebes' savior: "You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers." Maybe Oedipus' desire here can be called hubris, or excessive pride-his tragic flaw. In psychoanalytic terms, you might say he has a "Christ complex." (Never mind the "Oedipus complex…") But another way of thinking Oedipus' aim here is that he has a high degree of altruism, a grand sense of social responsibility-he's a leader who wants to successfully lead the people out of their misery; it's what he does, what he's done before, who he thinks he is. His whole identity is wrapped up in his sense of his own power, his own abilities. Remember, he ran from Corinth, ran from Delphi, ran from Fate. He thinks he's done pretty well so far. Thebes voluntarily made him ruler because of his intelligence, not because he conquered it-so he thinks (turns out he killed the previous king, his own father). So when Oedipus makes his offer here, he's not aware that he's committing any sin of pride. This is just how he sees himself. If anything, that's the real tragedy. Because he's seeing blind, as Tiresias soon informs him.

Oedipus addresses Tiresias, at first, very respectfully, but he soon gets heated, losing patience. Tiresias is accusing him of horrible deeds, of being a murderer, of not knowing the truth about his own past. This hits a sore spot, as Oedipus has been in that position before, and it led him to leave his home in Corinth. They clash. Oedipus' emotions turn on a dime, and we see his pride and his anger erupt. Only the Chorus, representing the calm, rational will of the people (which Oedipus responds to, in fine enlightened Athenian fashion), can restrain him from lashing out against Tiresias. But he takes his shots, calling the prophet a "pious fraud" and "senile."

Tiresias, for his part, is also angered at Oedipus' accusations, and he blurts out the truth, in riddles, calling Oedipus the real blind man, which is the truth. He rubs salt in old wounds, bringing up the issue of Oedipus' parents. "Who is my father?" Oedipus wants to know. He has that vulnerability. But Tiresias won't go further. He leaves Oedipus with a riddle to solve, because Oedipus is the famous riddle-solver. It's a thrust.

Buried here, in one line on p. 999 is one of the play's great themes, expressed by Tiresias-Oedipus will cause his own downfall-"character determines fate."

Chorus - First Stasimon (p. 989)

The chorus expresses the public's horror at the crime; they know the criminal will soon be caught. That is what Apollo has demanded. Whoever he is, running will be useless now: "His time has come to fly, to outrace the stallions of the storm, his feet a streak of speed-cased in armor, Apollo son of the Father lunges on him, lightning-bolts afire! And the grim unerring Furies closing for the kill." They know the killer must be rooted out. But they aren't so sure Tiresias is right; they refuse to convict Oedipus without clear proof. That's an enlightened, civilized culture speaking. Although Tiresias has given them a clear victim to scapegoat and sacrifice, they refuse. "No, not til I see these charges proved will I side with his accusers."

Episode (2): pp. 990-98

Here Oedipus and Creon clash. Oedipus is the voice of passionate rage, while Creon is the voice of reason and calm. They joust for position and power, Oedipus convinced that Creon is plotting with Tiresias to discredit his name and reputation. But Creon insists on reason, using logic at every opportunity. "Hear me out, then judge me on the facts." He counters Oedipus' rage with reason: "Look, if you think crude, mindless stubbornness such a gift, you've lost your sense of balance" (1003). He tries to convince Oedipus there's no logical reason why he should want to plot to overthrow the king when he's got such power and influence already, with less responsibility (p. 1004). "How wrong it is to take the good for bad, purely at random or take the bad for good." Here Creon stumbles on the truth about Oedipus, unawares. Thebes has been taking the bad for the good. But Oedipus isn't persuaded, although the Chorus is, and they defend him, or Oedipus would have struck him dead-a very tyrannical thing to do. When Creon declares that Thebes is "My city too, not yours alone!"-that would have resounded loud and clear in democratic Athens when the play was written. Creon parts with a strong jab: "It's perfect justice: natures like yours are hardest on themselves." Character determines fate.

When Jocasta enters, trying to placate and reassure Oedipus, a disturbing fact emerges. Laius was killed at the "place where three roads meet"-a place where Oedipus knows he murdered an entire traveling party before arriving at Thebes. And while he begins to put two and two together we see how he nobly presses on in search of the truth, even if it's self-incriminating. He doesn't try to save himself. He's after the truth. And he's honest with Jocasta about his past. He tells her about his flight from Delphi and from Corinth, and we can see how easily he'd been pierced by his lack of knowledge about who he really is. When he hears the prophecy about killing his father and marrying his mother, he runs. (And who wouldn't?) "Running, always running toward some place where I would never see the same of all those oracles come true. Oedipus is running from fate, his "destiny." He wants desperately to create his own destiny.

Jocasta is not as noble as Oedipus, she's a much lesser figure as she tries desperately to find a loophole where she can hide from the truth. Furthermore, she has no respect for the oracles, whereas Oedipus is terrified of them. "So much for prophecy. It's neither here nor there." In the next episode she gets even more blasphemous.

Chorus - Second Stasimon (p. 999)

This is a beautiful choral ode, filled with poetry. Its opening lines have such a ring to them…. "Destiny guide me always…" The Chorus expresses reverence for the gods, for the destiny they've handed us. Let me accept my fate, is the prayer the Chorus sings here. It's what Oedipus will soon do valiantly, heroically. "Pride breeds the tyrant…." the chorus continues. Human beings who think they are above fate, above destiny, above the gods, will soon fall, as the tyrant falls, "headlong pride crashes down the abyss-sheer doom! No footing helps, all foothold lost and gone, but the healthy strife that makes the city strong-I pray that god will never end that wrestling: god, my champion, I will never let you go."

No person can strut "high and mighty" having "no fear of justice, no reverence for the temples of the gods." This isn't a comment on Oedipus so much as an expression of the peoples' underlying belief. Several things have been called into question by now: Apollo's oracles have been defied, not once but twice! That is unholy behavior. The Chorus does not approve, but at the same time it is observing carefully to see whether there will be a consequence for such blasphemous behavior. If people abandon faith in Apollo's oracles, where will the people look to for justice and order in the world? If the oracles are dying, then the "gods go down." This is a terrifying prospect for the faithful. The Chorus expresses this dilemma.

Episode (3): pp. 1000-1008

Jocasta prays at Apollo's altar. This is both hypocritical and ironic, and further undermines her nobility. Jocasta has never shown much respect for the Apollo, or his oracles. Now she is praying to him? Once the messenger arrives, seeming to refute the oracle, she'll deliver a significant speech that underscores her impious view (p. 1014): "Fear? What should a man fear? It's all chance, chance rules our lives." In the context of this play, Jocasta is wrong, it turns out, but her assertion still rings in our ears today. How much of what we experience is preordained? How much of it is chance? These questions are still raised by people all across the spectrum in the Western world, by people as different as physicists and priests.

There's a lot of self-interest in this play, along with all the altruism. Even the messenger is hoping to improve his lot by bringing the good news that Corinth wants to make Oedipus king. In his haste to convince Oedipus that it's safe to come home, he lets a few facts drop that Oedipus devours. He closely interrogates the messenger (we see his quick intelligence as he immediately puts things together). As Jocasta sees the horrible truth emerging she tries one last time to get Oedipus to hide from it, but he refuses. In agony, realizing how wrong she's been, how horrible her fate, she kills herself (we learn soon).

Oedipus faces the truth, embracing his destiny now with courage, nobility, and dignity (p. 1017). He's not running anymore (he's changed).

The Shepherd says that Oedipus was "born for pain." Small part, big line. Was Oedipus' destiny set before he was born, or did he create his own fate? Does he find himself in this predicament because of his own choices, his own abilities, or did the gods just blithely preordain his destiny, and he never had a chance? It's one of the most provocative questions the play raises. Ultimately it affirms the religious order; but we are left wondering…

When Oedipus learns the truth, it "bursts" into light. Knowledge is characterized as a burst of light which contrasts the darkness of ignorance. What does he do with this new self-knowledge? He puts out his eyes, in a terrifying scene we'll see later. Why does Oedipus blind himself and not commit suicide as Jocasta did? It's his act of will. He refuses to relinquish his freedom to make his own destiny. In that one act, Oedipus proves he is a free man who in fact creates his own way.

Chorus - Third Stasimon (p. 1008-09)

Humanity must suffer. Joy is a dimly lit illusion, a vision, a phantasm. The truth, when it dawns, blazes illusion to oblivion. Poetry!

Oedipus exemplifies human suffering, human misery-his life is the great example to the rest of us. Even the "best of men" can be destroyed by fate.

Oedipus had been an inspiration, but now thinking about him brings only darkness; we struggle to understand what to make of it all.

Exodus (pp. 1009-1017)

We learn of the catastrophe--the point in the play were the suffering is the greatest. Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus brutally rakes out his own eyes. It's a disgusting, terrifying, pitiful scene, just as Aristotle says. We're at the moment of catharsis. The Chorus expresses our pity and fear (p. 1024), as Oedipus describes how he's created for himself a fate worse than death.

Creon acts kindly and Oedipus leaves Thebes, taking the plague with him.

Final Chorus (p. 1017)

The Chorus intones its famous last words: "Count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last."






Questions? Contact me.

All materials unless otherwise indicated are copyright © 2001-2004 by Stacy Tartar Esch.

The original contents of this site may not be reproduced, republished, reused, or retransmitted
without the express written consent of Stacy Tartar Esch.
These contents are for educational purposes only.