"We are distracted from many things in life by fear, which stops us penetrating into places where the heart wants to go. Not to be scared and to be faithful to oneself calls for real courage. The heroes of Sophocles's tragedy are truly brave: they are afraid but they surpass themselves and aim at that place where is no room for fear. From the beginning we were frightened of a tragic pathos and we tried to avoid it but gradually we started to feel the strength and greatness of this thing called tragedy."
(by Andrey Prikotenko)
Synopsis of the play:
Oedipus addresses the citizens of Thebes. He blames them for their distrust of his deeds and he swears that he will respect the instructions of the Delphi oracle in order to save the city from plague.
Creon, brother of Oedipus's wife, the queen Jocasta announces the will of gods: the murderer of the former king of Thebes, Laius, must be found and punished. Oedipus starts his search.
A chorus of old Theban men prays for the salvation of the city from plague. Oedipus curses the murderer of Laius.
Tiresias foretells the detection of a terrible crime done by Oedipus - the murderer of his father Laius and the husband of his mother Jocasta.
Oedipus classifies this prophecy as a political plot organised by Creon and Tiresias.
The confused chorus stands by Oedipus.
Creon swears that he is innocent. Oedipus decides to execute the traitor in public.
Oedipus set Creon free and admits that the prophecy of Tiresias agrees with the Delphic prophecy which was foretold to him. Jocasta persuades Oedipus of the opposite and she tells him that as fas as the predicted patricide of her former husband Laius, her and Laius's son was put to death as a young child.
Jocasta describes the circumstances of Laius's death and Oedipus sees in them his bygone crime.
Oedipus wants to kill himself as Laius's murderer and the cause of plague. Jocasta persuades him to send for a shepherd, the only witness of Laius's death.
A messenger form Cadmus appears and announces the death of Polybus, Oedipus's father. Oedipus and Jocasta rejoice at their victory over the gods and over the unfilled Delphi prophecy about Oedipus as a patricide. However, from the words of the messenger it is clear that Oedipus is Polybus's adopted son who was taken away in his boyhood from a Theban shepherd. Jocasta understands that Oedipus is her own son who was given to the shepherd to be killed by him. The horror is too much for Jocasta, who hangs herself.
The witness of Laius's death comes. He is the shepherd who saved Oedipu's life. Oedipus learns the truth from him. When he is convinced that he is the patricide, the husband of his own mother and the brother of his own children, he pokes out his eyes and leaves Thebes.