Why didn't the Thebans avenge the king's death in Oedipus Rex?

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mperez-mugg21 | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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When Oedipus begins his quest for the truth, seeking out King Laius' killer in order to eliminate the plague placed on the city, he asks many questions in order to determine the true killer of King Laius.  While Oedipus questions Creon about the details surrounding the murder of King Laius, we discover that the citizens of Thebes did not continue searching for the killer due to the terrible circumstances that the city faced.  Oedipus is informed that due to the curse placed on the city by the Sphinx, the citizens were not able to continue searching for the killer due to the fact that they were so overwhelmed by the state of the city.  This means that the citizens were never able to find the murderer prior to Oedipus' discovery that he himself is the killer, which explains why they did not avenge Laius' death.