Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, also known as Oedipus tyrannus, was a tragedy initially performed in Athens about 425 before our era. In the circumstances of a mortal illness threatening the mythical city of Thebes, it becomes clear that it has been polluted by the killing of the previous king Laius by unknown murderers, allegedly robbers. Oedipus, now heroic king and the wise saviour of the city from a terrible monster in the past, is determined to save the city from the pollution: a ‘chorus’ of Theban citizens is present during Oedipus’ investigation of how Laius had been murdered during a trip. There is a serious turn, when the blind prophet Teiresias warns them that the person to be punished is actually the king, or else a foreigner who will prove a native. Not surprisingly, the king gets so angry as to suspect a conspiracy against himself. But Oedipus was an adoptive child who had previously lived in Corinth, without ever knowing his natural parents. In the course of the investigation taking place on stage in front of the Queen Jocasta and the chorus of citizens, Oedipus never hesitates to go on for the sake of the city, but will eventually discover that he had killed by accident his father Laius, then became king of Thebes and married his own mother, Laius’ wife, Jocasta. Thus the Delphic oracles of the god Apollo and the prophecy of Teiresias come to be fulfilled. After Jocasta commits suicide and Oedipus blinds himself another prophecy from Delphi is expected: the whole city cannot decide whether the blind Oedipus should be exiled to mount Kithairon as he asks, or he should survive in the palace. But the play ends before any final answer of the god arrives.
The lecture will take place on Wednesday 5th of April, in the Central Library, 1st floor, in the seminar room next to the entrance, at 11.00.