Can someone give me a good and understndable summary of the play, Oedipus (Rex)?

Thanks! But please make it a bit short!

1 Answer
Nov 18, 2017

Oedipus, a prideful and arrogant king, has his past come back to haunt him, leading to a tragic downfall where he blinds himself and is exiled from his city, Thebes.


The play opens with a pestilence happening in Thebes, and from the Oracle at Delphi, Oedipus learns it is because the killer of the previous king (Laius) is still at large. Oedipus investigates and learns from the blind prophet Teiresias that he is the killer, but he refuses to believe it and argues that Teiresias lied.

However, he is troubled because he fled his home, Corinth, because of a prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. His wife, Jocasta, tells him to ignore the prophecy, because she and Laius successfully avoided a similar prophecy by putting their child out on a mountainside and piercing his feet through the ankles. The details Oedipus learns from her trouble him further, and he requests that the shepherd that put him on the mountainside be found to tell him what happened to the boy.

The old shepherd arrives and is goaded into telling Oedipus that Oedipus is the boy that was put out on the mountainside. Oedipus then realizes that the man he killed at a crossroads as he fled Corinth and the prophecy was actually his true father, Laius.

Oedipus goes inside and finds that Jocasta, both his wife and mother, has hung herself, having figured out the story before Oedipus. Oedipus grabs her brooch and gouges out his eyes.

Creon, the brother of Jocasta ascends to the throne, and while he does not want to send Oedipus away and into the world blind and alone, must do so to end the pestilence.