Oedipus at Colonus Characters


Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Oedipus (EHD-ih-puhs), the former king of Thebes, now a wanderer, blind and in rags, because he had been fated unwittingly to murder his father and marry his mother. After the suicide of his wife and mother, Jocasta, Oedipus, who had blinded himself in the moment of anguish that came with his full realization of who he was and what he had done, had lived for a time quietly in Thebes until his banishment by the regent Creon, his brother-in-law, with the acquiescence of his sons, Polynices and Eteocles. During his years of wandering, he has endured hardship and pain, but from them he has gained spiritual authority and strength; he is aware that his special suffering has conferred on him a special grace and that, although he is an object of pollution while alive, his dead body will confer divine benefits on the land in which it lies. He is still intelligent, courageous, and irascible, but to these characteristics has been added a new dimension of strength and knowledge. Through the horrible afflictions that the gods have visited on him, he has become as nearly godlike as a man can be.


Antigone (an-TIHG-uh-nee), Oedipus’ elder daughter, her father’s guide since childhood. Although passionately devoted to him, she also is capable of love for Polynices, her brother, who wronged both her father and her. After the death of Oedipus, she returns to Thebes to try to mend the breach...

(The entire section is 613 words.)