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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Oedipus January 1, Mythology

"Boy, that's a poser alright...
Why did the chicken cross the road?"
Oedipus: Oedipus was born to King Laos and Queen Jocasta in Thebes, which is what the Ancient Greeks called Egypt.1  The Oracle of Delphi told Laos that the baby would grow up to kill his father and marry his mother.  Horrified, Laos took measures to prevent this disaster.2  He ordered a shepherd to leave the infant to be left exposed to the elements, but instead the shepherd gave the child to Queen Merope and King Polybus of Corinth.3  When Oedipus achieved adulthood, he went to the Oracle of Delphi, who said that he would murder his father and marry his mother.  The Oracle did not mention that Oedipus was really the son of Laos and Jocasta.Fleeing this dreadful prophecy, he ended up in Thebes,5 where he met and murdered Laos at a crossroads.  Arriving in Thebes, he found the city besieged by a terrible monster, the Sphinx, who asked all travelers the same riddle: "What goes on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening."  Correctly guessing the answer was "man" - the four legs representing infancy, two legs adulthood, and the third leg being a cane.6 Oedipus slew the monster and liberated the city, which in gratitude let him marry Jocasta, whose husband had mysteriously gone missing.  Older than Oedipus, but still attractive7 Jocasta bore Oedipus four children, Polyneices, Eteocles, Ismene, and Antigone.  Eventually Oedipus discovered his crime, and in remorse tore out his eyes.8  He left Thebes, never to return.9

1 They were Greek and didn't know any better.
2  Stop me if you've heard this one.
3 You just couldn't trust shepherds in those days.
4 And yet people trusted the Oracle of Delpi completely. I can't say why.
5 Naturally.
6 Who knows how the riddle would have gone if they'd used walkers.
7 The original MILF
8 It seems like there might have been more relevant parts of his anatomy he could have torn off, but who's to say.
9 He was later taken bodily up to Olympus by the gods. He'd been through a lot and they felt sorry for him.

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