Study Guide

Oedipus - King Polybus Commends Phorbas, the Shepherd

King Polybus Commends Phorbas, the Shepherd

Case Description: Polybus, King of Corinth, bestows a humanitarian award upon Phorbas, the shepherd. When Phorbas found a baby abandoned on a mountain with its ankles pinned together, he couldn't bear to let it die. The shepherd decided to take it to King Polybus and Queen Merope, who were happy to adopt the baby boy, since they had no children of their own. The royal couple named the little tyke Oedipus, which translates to something like "swollen ankles," because of the swelling caused by the pins in his ankles. (Um... was that the best name they could come up with?)

Addendum: As Oedipus would learn way too late, his birth parents were King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes. They abandoned him on the mountain, because an oracle said that he was destined to kill his father and sleep with his mother. (Hmmm... so, maybe Phorbas doesn't deserve that commendation after all.)

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