Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Section 5 Summary (lines 998-1214)

A messenger tells Jocasta that Oedipus’s father, Polybus, has died a natural death. The news thrills her because she thinks the prophecy that Oedipus will kill his father can’t come true. Though they are pleased to hear this, Oedipus is still worried that he may wed his mother. The messenger attempts to reassure them by saying that Polybus and Merope were not Oedipus’s natural parents, and that Oedipus was given to the couple by a shepherd who found the child in the woods. The shepherd said he received the child, whose ankles were bound, from a follower of Laius. Jocasta begs Oedipus to no longer seek out the witness to Laius’s murder. He disregards her pleas and calls for Laius's shepherd. Jocasta, realizing the truth about Oedipus, becomes hysterical and exits the stage.

The Chorus states that there should be no questioning of the prophets and the prophecies, and wonders about the actual parentage of Oedipus, alluding that he might be a demigod.

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