Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Section 7 Summary (lines 1351-1498)

A messenger and a senator discuss the death of Jocasta. The messenger relates that prior to killing herself, she burst in screaming and tearing her hair, lamenting the fact the prophecies came true. He says Oedipus arrived shortly thereafter, begging for a sword, and broke the doors only to find Jocasta had hanged herself. Grief stricken, Oedipus released her, took pins from her garments, and used them to gouge out his eyes (the messenger gives a particularly graphic account of this action.) The man ends his story by saying Oedipus is currently pleading to leave before he can curse the house any further. Oedipus then appears on stage, led by a boy.

The Chorus and Oedipus trade lines, expressing the horror and tragedy of the situation. Oedipus appears to speak directly to the Chorus, clearly showing his newfound humility. The Chorus betrays shock at what he has done to himself. Oedipus says he has nothing left to enjoy in life and that he plans to leave Thebes, and also curses whomever saved him as a child because his life is so painful. This section ends with the Chorus questioning why Oedipus chose to blind himself rather than commit suicide.

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