Greek mythology: the story of Oedipus

Greek mythology: the story of Oedipus

Oedipus is a character in the Greek mythology which gives name to a famous mental syndrome: the oedipus complex, discovered by Freud. But, who was oedipus?

Oedipus biography

Oedipus was the son of Layo and Jocasta, kings of Thebes. When they were to marry, the oracle of delphi warned them that their child would become the murderer of his father and would later marry his mother.

When his firstborn was born, Laius commissioned an acquaintance of his to kill the child so that the dire future that the oracle had promised them would not be fulfilled.

This person went to Mount Citerón, pierced the boy's feet and hung him from a tree so that he would die little by little.

Yet I was passing by a shepherd, Forbas, who heard the baby's cry and saved him. Handed it over to Polybius and his wife, Peribea. Together they raised him and named him Oedipus, which means swollen feet.

Like many other heroes in Greek mythology, when he was a teenager showed his great ability for gymnastics, something that raised the admiration of many military officers, who saw him as a future soldier.

His adolescence

One of his colleagues was envious and snapped that he was just an adopted son and therefore he had no honor. For this reason, he went to his mother and asked her repeatedly if she was his real mother, but Peribea saw that the truth could hurt her, so insisted on assuring him that it was her.

However, Oedipus was not satisfied with the answers, so he decided to go to the oracle at Delphi for answers.

The oracle predicted the same to him as to the kings of Thebes, so he advised him to do not go near the place where he was born. Oedipus then decided that I would not return to Corinth, so he set course for Phocis.

Along the way they stand out two events:

First, he faced a carriage passenger at a crossroads. whom he accidentally killed. It was about Laius, his father, although Oedipus was unaware of this fact.

The second is the encounter with a horrible monster, the Sphinx. It was a being with the head of a woman, the voice of a man, the body of a lion, the tail of a serpent, the wings of an eagle and the claws of a lion. She was the daughter of Typhus and Echidna.

The myth of Oedipus and the Sphinx

The Sphinx was located on top of a hill and anyone who approached it would ask a question. If they didn't solve it, it devoured them and, of course, it had eaten everyone it had questioned.

The new king of Thebes, Creon, Jocasta's brother, offered as a reward the hand of his sister and consequently the throne of Thebes, to the one who managed to decipher the enigma of the sphinx and get rid of it.

Oedipus then decided to confront such a being. When he met the sphinx, it asked him:

What is the animal that walks on four feet in the morning, two at noon and three in the afternoon?

Oedipus, who had great intelligence, did not take long to answer that it was about the man, since in his childhood he walks on his hands and feet, during adulthood he walks only on his legs, but in his old age he had to help himself with a cane as if it were a third foot.

The sphinx She was furious that someone had solved the riddle, so who committed suicide by hitting his head against a rock.

As a reward, Creon fulfilled his promise and gave Jocasta.

Oedipus He lived happily for many years with his wife and the children he had had with her, Etéocles, Polinice, Antígona and Irmene. But happiness was cut short when a plague epidemic arrived, devastating the entire region.

The oracle of Delphi: discovering its history

Faced with this problem, he went to oracle of delphi for what tell you how to fix it. The oracle assured that it would only end when Laius's murderer was discovered and expelled from Thebes.

Oedipus then began to investigate until he discovered the truth, that he had been the murderer and he had married his own mother.

Yocasta couldn't bear the truth and committed suicide. The news had greatly affected Oedipus, who considered that he did not deserve to see the light of day anymore and decided gouge out eyes with a sword.

Later it was expelled from Thebes for their children, although Antigone he went with him to help and guide him.

Thus he came to Attica, where lived as a beggar. He continued his journey towards Athens until he entered a shrine dedicated to Erinias where the locals recognized him and wanted to end his life.

The death of Oedipus

Regarding the end of the story there two versions.

The first assures that Antigone's words got that could save your life, after which it was picked up by Theseus and welcomed into his home.

The other version ensures who died in the sanctuary but before exhaling his last breath, Apollo promised him that the place would be sacred and consecrated to him and that it would be beneficial for the Athens city.

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With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.


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