Oedipus did not have a fair start in life. His father, Laius, heard prophecy that Oedipus would one day kill his father and sleep with his mother. In order to prevent this, Laius gave Oedipus to a shepherd to be killed. Fortunately, through a string of events, Oedipus's life was saved, and he even went on to become the honored king of Thebes. Despite this feat, Oedipus still managed to make several decisions that ultimately fulfilled the original prophecy told to Laius, and inevitably sealed Oedipus?s fate.
In order to escape the prophecy that he would kill his father and sleep with his mother, Oedipus thought it best to leave Corinth. What Oedipus did not know is that the parents he was leaving were not his biological parents. The prophecy stated that Oedipus would commit the crimes upon his natural parents, not his adoptive. Although a valiant effort on Oedipus?s part, leaving the city of Corinth actually enabled the prophecy to become reality. When at a crossroads during his travel away from Corinth, Oedipus happened upon a man and his four servants. After a dispute about who had the right of way, Oedipus killed the man and three out of the four servants. The fourth, a witness that would become an important figure in the future, escaped. Little does Oedipus know that the man he killed was his biological father. Thus, stage one of the prophecy was fulfilled.
After solving the Sphinx riddle, Thebans honor Oedipus by crowning him king of Thebes. He also married the widow queen, Jocasta. Oedipus did not realize it, but the widow he married was his biological mother. In that event, the second stage of the prophecy is fulfilled. The tragic event also occurred due to Oedipus?s decision to leave Corinth. In a sad twist of irony, Oedipus?s attempt to avoid the prophecy actually sets him up to fulfill it.
A pitiful plague struck the city of Thebes. Thebans sought Oedipus, their King, to find the cause of the plague and to resolve it. It is revealed to Creon by an oracle at Delphi that the plague was due to the unpunished murder of King Laius. Creon, Oedipus?s brother-in-law, relayed this information. Oedipus, being the dutiful king that he was, sought the prophet Teiresias on the premise that the prophet could explain the cause of the plague. Sadly, Oedipus did not realize that by calling for this prophet would, in turn, reveal a dark secret that would eventually lead to the ruin of Oedipus. Teirsias proclaims,? I say you are the murderer of the king whose murderer you seek.? (1009). The proclamation, along with a suggestion of incest on Oedipus?s...