What is the relationship between Chrysippus and Pelops, and how is Laius of Oedipus Rex involved with them?  

1 Answer | Add Yours

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In Sophocles's story of Oedipus Rex, it may be that Lauis's death is a punishment. At one point in his life, Thebes is conquered by Amphion and Zethus, and Laius is smuggled out of the city. He is welcomed in Pisa (in the Peloponnesus—an island in southern Greece), by King Pelops. There are two versions of this part of the story. First, Laius is teaching Chrysippus, the illegitimate son of Pelops, how to drive a chariot. Hyginus, another source, records that Laius is escorting Chrysippus to the Nemean Games. In either case,  Laius abducts and rapes the boy.

Ultimately, Laius returns to Thebes and marries Jocasta. It is said that Laius and his family and city are later punished by the gods for Laius's actions.

Laius and Joscasta have been forewarned by an oracle that their son will kill his father and marry his mother. When Joscasta gives birth to Oedipus, the parents decide to kill him in order to stop the oracle from coming true. While some sources say that Oedipus is taken up the mountain to be left to die by a servant, the translation of the play states that it is a shepherd. The shepherd feels sorry for the baby and does not kill him, but passes the baby to another shepherd and the boy finds his way to the palace of Polybus who raises Oedipus as his natural son.

When Oedipus is grown, he is accosted at a crossroads by a man arguing over who has the right of way. The old man insists he has the right, and hits Oedipus. This starts a fight and Oedipus unknowingly kills Laius, his biological father, still believing that Polybus is his true father.

It is in this way that Laius of Oedipus Rex is connected to Chrysippus and Pelops.


Additional Source:


We’ve answered 317,747 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question