How did Oedipus kill his father?

In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus killed his father by unknowingly striking him with his staff. He had just visited the oracle at Delphi and was upset with the information he received. When Laius's driver spoke rudely to Oedipus and shoved him, Oedipus lashed out at the driver. Laius struck Oedipus, and so Oedipus struck back at Laius, not realizing that this old man was actually his father.

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The unfortunate Oedipus in Sophocles's play Oedipus Rex learns far too late that he has fulfilled a prophecy made at his birth. He has killed his father and married his mother. Of course, he doesn't realize that he is doing either deed at the time he does them.

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The unfortunate Oedipus in Sophocles's play Oedipus Rex learns far too late that he has fulfilled a prophecy made at his birth. He has killed his father and married his mother. Of course, he doesn't realize that he is doing either deed at the time he does them.

Oedipus has been raised by adoptive parents although he doesn't even suspect it until someone at a feast shouts out, “Thou art not true son of thy sire.” Indeed, the man is right, for Oedipus's real parents, fearful of the prophecy, cast him out when he was only a newborn. He was found by a shepherd and brought to the people he always knew as his parents. They try their best to comfort him after the feast, but Oedipus decides that he needs to know the truth.

Therefore, Oedipus travels to the oracle at Delphi where he receives “grievous” prophecies of “woes, lamentations, mourning, portents dire.” The old prophecy is reconfirmed, and Oedipus, highly upset, proceeds on his journey.

At a crossroads, however, he means a colt-drawn car with a man sitting in it. The man and his servants threaten and abuse Oedipus, and he, in turn, strikes the driver. As the car passes, the man inside hits Oedipus on the head with a “double-pointed goad.” Oedipus immediately retaliates, striking the man in the car with his staff so hard that the man flies out and hits the ground dead. Oedipus then finishes the job and kills the rest of the party.

Little does Oedipus know, though, that the man in the car is none other than Laius, his very own biological father. With one burst of temper, Oedipus has fulfilled half the dreadful prophecy.

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On the road from Corinth to Thebes, Oedipus encounters his father, Laius. He is not aware that Laius is his biological father; all he knows is that this man is incredibly arrogant and rude. Laius threatens to run Oedipus off the road and even strikes him on the head. Enraged, Oedipus kills both Laius and the driver with his staff. Obviously, this is a rather gruesome way to kill someone, since multiple blows would be required to finish the job.

Oedipus's killing of Laius is ironic in that he was on that road to begin with because he wanted to thwart the prophecy stating he would kill his father and bed his mother. However, he believed his adopted parents were his true parents, so he had no idea that there was nothing to run from back home. The murder also shows that Oedipus does not always make the best decisions and that he can be ruled by emotion rather than logic. This comes up again in the play, as Oedipus goes against the warnings of others in order to keep searching for the cause of the plague. A lot of that comes from his own arrogance—ironically linking him with the arrogance of Laius, his true father.

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Oedipus kills his father on the road from Corinth to Thebes, striking him down with his staff when Laius refuses to move aside for him.

Oedipus's killing of his father is filled tragic irony. He is on the road to Thebes because he recently learned the prophecy that he was destined to kill his father and marry his mother, both terrible taboos in Greek society. He flees his home in Corinth with the goal of protecting the people he thinks are his parents, only to unknowingly kill his real father in the process.

The killing also foreshadows how Oedipus's tragic flaw, his pride or hubris, will bring him down. It is pride that drives Oedipus to strike out rather than step aside for another man. It is pride, too, that blinds Oedipus to any idea that he could be the one responsible for the plague in Thebes. When he learns it is due to a sinner who has not been punished, it doesn't occur to him until too late to think that the sinner could be him.

But more importantly from the viewpoint of Greek thought, Oedipus ends up killing his father precisely because he has the hubris to think he can outrun or outsmart what the gods have prophesied. Challenging the gods in this way was the worst of sins in ancient Greece.

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Oedipus killed his father, Laius, the king of Thebes, with "one stroke / Of [his] good staff." In other words, after Laius hit Oedipus on the head with his own weapon, Oedipus retaliated by striking back at Laius with physical force.

Oedipus had left his home in Corinth to seek answers from the oracle at Delphi; however, the oracle did not give him the information he desired: knowledge of whether or not the people he knew as his parents—Polybus and Merope of Corinth—were his true biological parents. Instead, the oracle told Oedipus that he would "defile" his mother's bed, fathering children that would be abominations because of their parents' incest, and that he would kill his own birth father.

At this point, Oedipus was very upset, so when he met a couple of men on the path headed away from the oracle and those men threatened him, saying they would "thrust [him] rudely from the path" and shoving him in anger, Oedipus struck the driver of the chariot. This caused Laius—who Oedipus did not realize was his birth father—to strike Oedipus. Oedipus then struck Laius back, killing him on the road before heading to Thebes in order to, he hoped, escape the horrible fate the oracle had outlined for him.

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