Colonus is a place outside of Athens where Oedipus goes to die.
It’s important enough to show up in the play’s title, and this is partly
because it’s got a prophecy tied to it. Before they even know where they are,
though, Antigone can tell they’re in a sacred space:
This land is sacred,
as I would guess—teeming
With sweet bay, olive,
and grapevine. Within, thick-feathered
singing sweetly. (16-18)
The fertility of the place is a clue, signaled by all the
delicious edible plants growing there (anybody feel like a Mediterranean
platter for lunch today?). It lets Antigone know that there’s something sacred
about the place.
And she’s not wrong. Oedipus, too, recognizes the place as
the “agreed-upon sign of [his] destiny” (47). The place is a sacred field
dedicated to the Eumenides or the Furies, a group of goddesses who are in
charge of punishing anyone who commits the exact crimes that Oedipus has
committed. What are the chances?
So the fact that this place will be his refuge symbolizes
that his crimes are paid for, finally. His wandering and suffering can end.