Where did the prophecy come from in Oedipus Rex?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oedipus's prophecy -- a prophecy which stated that he was destined to kill his father and marry his mother -- came directly from the Oracle of Delphi.  The Oracle was situated in a shrine by a sacred spring in Delphi, a place the ancient Greeks believed to be the center of the world.  The Pythia, or the priestess of Apollo (for he is the god associated with prophecy), would -- for a fee -- provide answers to the questions brought by people from all over Greece.  One problem, however, was that her answers were almost always enigmatic and difficult to decipher; thus, they were subject to interpretation (and sometimes people would interpret them incorrectly).  Oedipus first heard his prophecy after a drunk man told him that the parents he knew were not really his parents (which was true), and so he went to the Oracle to ask for the truth.  However, she would not answer his questions; she would only tell the same prophecy that his father, Laius, had heard years before (although Oedipus doesn't know this yet).