Simple Summaries

Oedipus the King


Sarah Frank


·       Oedipus king of Thebes arrived years before in the city he now rules as a stranger after the death of King Laius

·       He was given the crown because he saved the city from the Sphinx during the rising action


Rising action:

·       Oedipus sends his bro Creon to consult Apollo about how to stop the plague

·       Creon is like, “Oedipus, find Laius’s killer and avenge his death so you can save everyone from the plague”

·       the chorus suggests to Oedipus that he consult the old blind prophet Tiresias

·       Tiresias says Oedipus is the cause of the plague because that makes sense

·       Oedipus accuses Tiresias of plotting with Creon to seize his throne

·      Tiresias tells Oedipus that the killer is in Thebes and will become blind and will turn out to be both the son and husband of his mother

·       Oedipus accuses Creon of plotting against him

·       Oedipus sends Creon out of the palace

·       Jocasta then tells Oedipus of a prophecy that a son of hers with Laius would kill his father

·       They killed the child….oops (but like not really because its him)

·       Laius was killed (probably by robbers) at a place where three roads meet

·       Oedipus recognizes the place and asks Jocasta to send for the slave witness of Laius’s death

·       he also tells Jocasta about his parents in Corinth but apparently they're not his real parents?

·       years ago he received the same prophecy that he would marry his mother and have children with her and kill his father

·       Oedipus ran away from Corinth to escape the prophecy but on the way, he met with travelers at across roads…then killed them all (Laius I think was one)

·       Jocasta sends for the slave who witnessed it

·       the chorus sings that if the prophecy is not actually true their religious faith is in danger of dying

·       a messenger arrives and says Oedipus is indeed not the real son of the people he thought were his parents, Oedipus was a gift from a shepherd who found him

·       the shepherd who gave the child to the messenger to give to the couple who raised him was the same slave that witnesses Laius’s death



·       Jocasta realizes the truth and frantically leaves during the climax

·       the Shepherd is called in and under duress confirms the prophecy is true

·       Jocasta hangs herself

·       Oedipus uses the broaches from her clothes to put out his eyes so he will no longer see the horror that is his life


Falling action

·       Creon takes pity on Oedipus and wants to keep him at the palace

·       BUT Oedipus insists on banishment, leaving his children behind for he now has no power over them



·       the chorus sings bitterly of the unhappy tale how a powerful man has fallen and how death is the onlything that will bring happiness to mortals



Apollo made the plague and wants them all to stop Laius’s killer

He wants to fix the land but he’s the problem

It’s the tragedy of human illusion: we think we have it all

He self-exiles