Speculate as to why Creon might be late on his errand from Delphi in Oedipus Rex.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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At the beginning of this tragedy the audience is introduced to Oedipus who is anxiously waiting for the return of Creon after he has been sent to the Oracle at Delphi to work out what needs to be done to stop the plague from tormenting the people of Thebes. Oedipus is anxiously expecting Creon any day, as Oedipus makes clear in the following speech:

Today's the day. When I count the days gone by

It torments me... what is he doing?

Strange, he's late, he's gone too long.

When Creon himself finally arrives, he is very reluctant to share his news in front of the people of Thebes and wants Oedipus to hear it in private. Given the context of the rest of the play, it might be possible to assume that Creon already has suspicions of who the murderer of Laius might be, and he might have received some kind of premonition that his news might bring tragedy to Thebes and to Oedipus. This would explain his reluctance to return home quickly, as he needs time to think through the message he has been given. It would also explain why he is so reluctant to share the news with Oedipus openly. This is a play where so many characters at least half-suspect the truth that the action drives inevitably towards, and perhaps Creon is no exception, even at this early point in the play.


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