Oedipus Rex Questions and Answers
by Sophocles

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In Oedipus Rex, what is the message from the oracle of Delphi?

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At the start of the play, Thebes is suffering from a devastating plague, and the Priest of Apollo asks King Oedipus of Thebes to help put an end to it. King Oedipus responds by saying that he sympathizes with everyone's pain and has sent his brother-in-law, Creon, to consult the oracle of Apollo at Delphi on the matter. Creon then arrives with a message from the oracle and informs Oedipus that in order to end the devastating plague, the murderer of Laius, the previous king of Thebes, must be brought to justice. Creon proceeds to say that Laius's murderer is currently living in Thebes and compares the unidentified man to a "polluting stain" which must be driven from the city.

Oedipus then questions Creon about...

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zumba96 | Student

The message is based on the plague within the city and how they must get rid of it, or else Apollo will be angry. Unbeknownst to Oedipus, he is the cause. He does everything and anything in order to find the murdered, when it is in fact he himself. Not only that, Oedipus is shown to lay false accusations on others once they tell him he is the murderer of his father and the husband of his mother. Finding out the answer to this drives him to his downfall at last.  

freyag | Student

Temple of Apollo: (Greek mythology) the oracle at Delphi where a priestess supposedly delivered messages from Apollo to those who sought advice; the messages were usually obscure or ambiguous.

Oracles In order to understand the will of the gods, the Greeks consulted oracles. These were places holy to a specific deity (often Apollo); humans could pose questions and the god would answer through a chosen intermediary. The most important oracle in the Greek world was Apollo’s temple at Delphi (also called Pytho, because legend said that it was founded when Apollo killed the previous resident, a giant snake, or python.). Here, Apollo answered questions through his priestess, the Pythia, who entered an ecstatic state and babbled out responses, which were in turn interpreted and delivered in verse by the priests. It was customary for kings and cities to consult the oracle of Delphi before making any big decision

The most important god for the Oedipus Rex is Apollo, whose oracle at Delphi gives the important prophecies to Oedipus and Creon (Laius was traveling to this oracle when he was killed). Apollo’s knowledge is absolute— if Apollo says something will happen, it will happen. His prophecies in this play, however, are not warnings: He does not tell Laius not to have children, merely that his child will kill him. He does not tell Oedipus to kill his father, but that he will kill his father. When Oedipus sends Creon to find out how to end the plague, Apollo tells them to drive the murderer of Laius out of Thebes, but this is not an instruction so much as a simple answer.

thatgirlhaslove | Student

Oedipus asks the oracle, Tiresias, who killed the king. He tells him that he knows the truth but wishes he didn't. Oedipus continues to ask but is met with no answers until he accuses Tiresias of being the murderer. The oracle tells Oedipus that he was the one who murdered the king. He continues that the murder is both brother and father to his children, and both son and husband to his mother.