OEDIPUS. Did some one of my sons hear these things?
ISMENE. Both, equally, and they know it well.
OEDIPUS. And once they heard these things, did they—the most
evil of men!
--Place the tyranny before longing for me?
ISMENE. It pains me to hear these things, but nevertheless I
must bear them. (416-20)
Oedipus wants to know
whether or not his sons have heard about his misfortune, and unfortunately they
do know and just don’t seem to care. When he asks whether they “place the
tyranny before longing for me” he is referring to the throne. Tyranny is power,
and the boys have valued power over their love for their father.