When does the recognition (or anagnorisis) occurin Sophocles' Oedipus Rex?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main plot of Sophocles Oedipus Rex is actually a mystery story, in which we are presented with Thebes suffering a plague because of some form of pollution which has offended the gods. Oedipus, a conscientious and responsible ruler, swears to find out who is the source of this pollution and punish him appropriately to restore the gods' goodwill to the city. We are give recognition of the true heritage and past of Oedipus in two stages, first when we discover that he murdered Laius and second when Oedipus is revealed to be the child of Jocasta and Laius. The chorus comments on this, saying:


Poor wretched Oedipus, your fate
stands here to demonstrate for me
how no mortal man is ever blessed.