How does Cocteau’s play preserve the original myth of Oedipus?
Cocteau’s play reiterates the main story in the myth of Oedipus. In both Cocteau’s play and the original myth, Oedipus ended up unknowingly killing his father and marrying his mother just as it was foretold. The play also stays true to some of the significant aspects of the myth.
In the play and just like in the myth, Oedipus is abandoned as a baby because of what is prophesied about his future. A shepherd finds him abandoned in the mountains and takes pity on him. He delivers him to King Polybius and Queen Merope of Corinth, who had a childless marriage. Oedipus then visits Delphi and learns of his fate in connection to his parents. Oedipus decides not to go back to Corinth believing his fate applied to King Polybius and his wife. However, his action to never return to Corinth pushes him towards the actual fulfillment of his fate. Oedipus ends up killing his father, King Laius, on his way towards Thebes. Oedipus also ends up marrying the queen and his biological mother, Jocasta. After the truth is revealed, Jocasta commits suicide and Oedipus blinds himself.