The opening scene of Sophocles's play Oedipus Rex takes the audience to a city in crisis. The city's ruler wants to resolve the crisis, but he cannot do this until he understands its root cause. This simple context—a man looking for the answer to a problem—is the frame for the horror that follows.
When Oedipus arrives on scene, he says to the suppliants, "Be sure that I will gladly give you all my help." He does not know what that may entail, but he is a generous ruler and does not want his people to suffer. The suppliants respond with warm praise, saying to Oedipus that he has "uplifted our life" in his time as their king. They plead with him to "uplift" them once again and deliver them from the plague that stalks the city:
Let us not remember of your reign that we were first restored and then cast down: lift this state so that it falls no more!
Oedipus again assures the suppliants that he will do whatever he can. In fact, he has already sent his relative, Creon , to consult with the oracle...
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