Explain the events of Oedipus the King in chronological order.

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Oedipus Rex begins with the priests trying to find out why a plague is on Thebes. Creon has returned from Delphi and announces the gods have caused the plague as punishment for Thebes harboring Laius's murderer. King Oedipus pledges to find the murderer.

Oedipus sends for Tiresias, a blind prophet, who accuses Oedipus of killing Laius and informs Oedipus that he will find that he is not only a husband but a son to his wife. Oedipus is angered and throws Tiresias out. He suspects Creon of conspiring with Tiresias to gain the throne.

Queen Jocasta enters and tells Oedipus the story of Laius's death, that he was met by a stranger where three roads meet and was killed. Oedipus remembers that an oracle had once prophesied that he would kill his father and marry his mother. He realizes that he could be the murderer. Oedipus then sends for the only witness, a shepherd.

 

A messenger from Isthmus comes with news that Oedipus's father, Polybos, has died. The messenger reveals that Polybos was not Oedipus's father. He tells Oedipus that he was given to Polybos by one of Laius's shepherds.

 

When the shepherd arrives, Oedipus forces him to reveal the truth, that Oedipus is Laius’s son.

 

In the end, Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus gouges his eyes with her brooch. Oedipus asks Creon to care for his daughters, Ismene and Antigone. He then banishes himself from Thebes and lives in exile.