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Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King

by Sophocles
 Table of Contents

Oedipus the King Determination Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

OEDIPUS And on the murderer this curse I lay (On him and all the partners in his guilt):-- Wretch, may he pine in utter wretchedness! And for myself, if with my privity He gain admittance to my hearth, I pray The curse I laid on others fall on me. See that ye give effect to all my hest, For my sake and the god's and for our land, A desert blasted by the wrath of heaven. (244-253)


Oedipus’s intense determination to uncover the mystery of Laius’s murder ironically leads him to inadvertently curse himself.

Quote #2

OEDIPUS Yea, I am wroth, and will not stint my words, But speak my whole mind. Thou methinks thou art he, Who planned the crime, aye, and performed it too, All save the assassination; and if thou Hadst not been blind, I had been sworn to boot That thou alone didst do the bloody deed. (345-350)


Oedipus’s determination to force the unwilling prophet Teiresias to speak blinds him to Teiresias’s potential reasons for reluctance and leads him to falsely accuse the prophet.

Quote #3

JOCASTA Then thou mayest ease thy conscience on that score. Listen and I'll convince thee that no man Hath scot or lot in the prophetic art. Here is the proof in brief. An oracle Once came to Laius (I will not say 'Twas from the Delphic god himself, but from His ministers) declaring he was doomed To perish by the hand of his own son, A child that should be born to him by me. Now Laius--so at least report affirmed-- Was murdered on a day by highwaymen, No natives, at a spot where three roads meet. As for the child, it was but three days old, When Laius, its ankles pierced and pinned Together, gave it to be cast away By others on the trackless mountain side. So then Apollo brought it not to pass The child should be his father's murderer, Or the dread terror find accomplishment, And Laius be slain by his own son. Such was the prophet's horoscope. O king, Regard it not. Whate'er the god deems fit To search, himself unaided will reveal. (707-725)


Despite her determination to do so, Jocasta is unable to convince Oedipus that prophecies are false.

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