When the play begins, Oedipus addresses his subjects whom he calls "my children, [...] the youngest generation of the ancient house of Cadmus." In Greek mythology, Cadmus was the founder of Thebes, the city in which the play is set, as well as a great hero and its first king. These subjects have come to the palace, wailing and bemoaning their fate as a result of all of the troubles in the kingdom: failing crops, women who cannot bear children, disease, and so forth. Oedipus seems genuinely anxious to hear and address their concerns, as he comes out to hear them himself rather than sending a messenger. Therefore, the generation to which Oedipus is dedicated is this one: the current citizenry of the ancient and great city of Thebes to whom he is honor-bound to serve and lead in his role as king.