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Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King


by Sophocles

Oedipus the King Power Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used Francis Storr's translation found on Project Gutenberg.

Quote #1

Monster! thy silence would incense a flint.
Will nothing loose thy tongue? Can nothing melt thee,
Or shake thy dogged taciturnity?
Thou blam'st my mood and seest not thine own
Wherewith thou art mated; no, thou taxest me.
And who could stay his choler when he heard
How insolently thou dost flout the State?
Well, it will come what will, though I be mute.
Since come it must, thy duty is to tell me.
I have no more to say; storm as thou willst,
And give the rein to all thy pent-up rage.
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.
Is it so? Then I charge thee to abide
By thine own proclamation; from this day
Speak not to these or me. Thou art the man,
Thou the accursed polluter of this land.
Vile slanderer, thou blurtest forth these taunts,
And think'st forsooth as seer to go scot free.
Yea, I am free, strong in the strength of truth.
Who was thy teacher? not methinks thy art.
Thou, goading me against my will to speak. (339-357)

Oedipus’s arrogance as king prevents him from heeding the prophet’s advice, and instead leads him to attack Teiresias.

Quote #2

Offspring of endless Night, thou hast no power
O'er me or any man who sees the sun.
No, for thy weird is not to fall by me.
I leave to Apollo what concerns the god. (374-378)

Teiresias suggests that earthly power is irrelevant in the face of divine influence.

Quote #3

Sirrah, what mak'st thou here? Dost thou presume
To approach my doors, thou brazen-faced rogue,
My murderer and the filcher of my crown?
Come, answer this, didst thou detect in me
Some touch of cowardice or witlessness,
That made thee undertake this enterprise?
I seemed forsooth too simple to perceive
The serpent stealing on me in the dark,
Or else too weak to scotch it when I saw.
This _thou_ art witless seeking to possess
Without a following or friends the crown,
A prize that followers and wealth must win. (530-545)

Because of his status and haughtiness, Oedipus assumes that all accusations against him are false and must be intended as a threat to his power.

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