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Oedipus Rex-Sophocles





Oedipus Rex-Sophocles

JOCASTA My lords look amazed to see your queen with wreaths and gifts of incense in her hands. I had a mind to visit the high shrines, for Oedipus is nervous, alarmed with various terrors. He will not use his past experience, like a man of sense, to judge the present need, but lends his ear to any croaker that argues. Since then my counsels donít have an advantage, I turn to thee, our help when we are in trouble, Apollo, Lord Lycean, and to you my prayers and pleas I bring. Ease us, lord, and cleanse us from this curse! For now we all are intimidated. Who see their helmsman confused in the storm. ] MESSENGER: My masters, tell me where the palace of Oedipus is; or better, where's the king. CHORUS Here is the palace and he lives within it; this is his queen the mother of his children. MESSENGER: All happiness attend her and the house. Her marriage-bed and husband are both blessed. JOCASTA: My greetings to you, stranger; whose reasonable words deserve a like response. But tell me why have you come--what do you need or what news do you have? MESSENGER: It is good for your husband and the royal house. JOCASTA: What is it? Whose messenger are you? MESSENGER: The Isthmian commons have resolved to make your husband kingóat least that is what I heard. JOCASTA: What! Isnít aged Polybus still king? MESSENGER: No, regretfully; he's dead and in his grave. JOCASTA: What! The sire of Oedipus is dead? MESSENGER: If I donít speak the truth I may die. JOCASTA: Quick, maiden, Tell this news to my lord. The god-sent oracles, where are they now? This is the man whom Oedipus long turned away from, in dread to prove his murderer; and now he dies in nature's course, not by Oedipusí doings. OEDIPUS: My wife, my queen, Jocasta, why have you called me from my palace. JOCASTA: Listen to this man, and explain what happened to the oracles. OEDIPUS: Who is this man, and what is his news for me? JOCASTA: He comes from Corinth and his message is this: your father Polybus has passed away. OEDIPUS: What? Tell me in your own words. MESSENGER: There is no other way of saying this, the king is dead. OEDIPUS: By old age, or by sickness? MESSENGER: One touch will send an old man to his rest. OEDIPUS: It was sickness then?



MESSENGER: Yes, and his age. OEDIPUS:Ah! why should one regard the Pythian hearth or birds that scream in the air? Did they not point at me saying I killed my father? but he's dead and in his grave, and here I am who never touched a sword; unless the longing for his absent son killed him and so I slew him in a sense. But, as they stand, the oracles are dead--dust, ashes, nothing, dead as Polybus. JOCASTA: Did I not predict this long ago? OEDIPUS: You did: but I was misled by my fear. JOCASTA: Donít ever think of these things again. OEDIPUS: Can I not fear my mother's marriage bed. JOCASTA: Why should a mortal man, with no assured foreknowledge, be afraid? It is best if one lives a careless life through. Donít fear this marriage with your mother. How often does the chance that a man weds his mother! No reasonable man is troubled by this. OEDIPUS: I should have had full confidence, is not my mother alive; since she lives I still have to worry. JOCASTA: And yet thy sire's death lights out darkness much. OEDIPUS Much, but my fear is touching her who lives. MESSENGER Who may this woman be whom thus you fear? OEDIPUS Merope, stranger, wife of Polybus. MESSENGER And what of her can cause you any fear? OEDIPUS A heaven-sent oracle of dread import. MESSENGER A mystery, or may a stranger hear it? OEDIPUS Aye, 'tis no secret. Loxias once foretold That I should mate with mine own mother, and shed With my own hands the blood of my own sire. Hence Corinth was for many a year to me A home distant; and I trove abroad, But missed the sweetest sight, my parents' face. MESSENGER Was this the fear that exiled thee from home? OEDIPUS Yea, and the dread of slaying my own sire. MESSENGER Why, since I came to give thee pleasure, King, Have I not rid thee of this second fear? OEDIPUS Well, thou shalt have due guerdon for thy pains. MESSENGER Well, I confess what chiefly made me come Was hope to profit by thy coming home. OEDIPUS Nay, I will ne'er go near my parents more. MESSENGER My son, 'tis plain, thou know'st not what thou doest. OEDIPUS How so, old man? For heaven's sake tell me all. MESSENGER If this is why thou dreadest to return. OEDIPUS Yea, lest the god's word be fulfilled in me. MESSENGER Lest through thy parents thou shouldst be accursed? OEDIPUS This and none other is my constant dread. MESSENGER Dost thou not know thy fears are baseless all?





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