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Theban Trilogy By: Sophocles Essay

The Oedipus plays have many things in common. Characters, metaphors, and the gods affect on the peoples daily lives. Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone all base themselves around prophecy; the undeniable god said future that the greeks believed above all else. The first book is defiantly the most grotesque. It is based around the prophecy that oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother. His parents, King Lius and Queen Jocasta of Corinth learn of this at his birth. So to prevent it they break his ankles and put him on Mount Cithaeron to dispose of him, but he survives and goes to live with King Polybus and Queen Moreope of Thebes. When he turns 18 he goes to see the oracle at Delphi and hears the original prophecy, not knowing he was adopted he leaves Thebes for Corinth! During his journey he meets an old man and kills him (this man is King Lius his real father). When he gets to Corinth the people make him king since he saved them.

Their old king is dead so he marries the queen (Jocasta his mother). The greeks believed that prophecies were undeniable. Although to me it seems that if his parents had not tried to stop the prophecy in the first place it would not have occurred at all. If you can say anything about the greeks it is that they have strong faith. In Oedipus at Colonus Oedipus has been walking aimlessly ever since he was banished for incest. His daughter has been his guide(due his blindness) (he blinded himself in the last book when he learned what he did) for the last 20 years. After he left his brother in law, Creon took over but now his sons, Polyneices and Eteocles want the crown. A new Prophecy has been given that says whoever has the body of Oedipus in their possession dead or alive will win the war and the crown.

So his son Polyneices and Creon (who is working with Eteocles) both come to retrieve him Creon though force and Polyneices though reason. Oedipus does not want either one of them to be king so he calls for theseus King of Athens to come and be the only on with the knowledge of where he is buried. Oedipus dies, is magically buried and only Theseus knows where, so the crown is safe. This is Interesting because they dodge the prophecy. They do not make the prophecy false but they avoid proving it. Antigone, the third book is not as based on prophecy as the others were. Even though it is called Antigone it is more based on the way Creon behaves towards the the death of his nephews and what to do with his nieces.

Antigone sprinkles Polyneices body with dirt against Creons wishes. She does this because in their culture to send someone to Hades he must be properly buried. Creon did not want this because Polyneices had been fighting against him in the war and did not want him to have the reward of going to hades. After Creon discovered what she had done he got her and said he was going to kill her. A prophecy is made that his family will perish due to his cruelty.

To Appese the gods Creon goes and buries Polyneices formally, but this does not do anything. Antigone kills herself not knowing of the prophecy or that he had decided not to kill her. Her fiance, Creon’s son is informed of her death and kills himself. Then, Creon’s wife finds out about her sons death and kills herself. Once again prophecy can not be changed even if you do what what they wanted from you. These three plays all work with prophecy in different ways. They show what and how the greeks believed. They were completely at the hands of the gods or so they thought. This gives us insight into the lives of the ancient Greecians.

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