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Outline of Sophocles'
Oedipus the King
Lines Events
1-85 The priest, talking with Oedipus, tells him Thebes is under a curse and the city needs his help again.
86-150 Creon learns from Apollo that the curse on Thebes resulted from King Laius' murder. The city must banish the murderer to lift the curse.
151-215 The Chorus calls on various Olympians to aid Thebes.
216-275 Oedipus asks the Thebans to help him find and expel Laius' murderer. He avidly begins an all-out manhunt.
276-379 The blind priest Tiresias has information about the plague, which he refuses to divulge. After much prodding from Oedipus, Tiresias claims that Oedipus is the source of the curse.
380-461 Oedipus alleges that Creon and Tiresias are conspiring against him. Tiresias tells Oedipus to learn the truth about his parents and then forecasts Oedipus' downfall.
462-531 Creon, talking with the Chorus, denies the charges of collusion with Tiresias.
532-633 Oedipus threatens to execute or deport Creon. Creon maintains his innocence and advises Oedipus to consult Apollo.
634-678 Oedipus' wife, Jocasta, and the Chorus defend Creon and convince Oedipus not to kill or banish him.
679-725 Oedipus explains Tiresais' prophecy to Jocasta; Jocasta counters that not all of Apollo's vision come true and cites King Laius as an example.
726-770 Jocasta recounts Laius' murder. Oedipus has the first suspicions that he may have killed Laius.
771-863 Oedipus tells about the group of travellers he murdered. Oedipus demands to see the lone survivor of the group to confirm if he indeed killed Laius.
864-910 Chorus calls on the gods for help.
911-974 A messenger tells Oedipus that the King of Corinth is dead and that Oedipus is to assume the throne. Oedipus refuses to return, for fear of fulfilling Apollo's prophecy that Oedipus would sleep with his mother.
975-1076 Messenger tells Oedipus that he is not, in fact, the son of Polybus (the dead King of Corinth): A herdsman rescued Oedipus, after he was exposed as an infant, and turned the baby Oedipus over to the messenger himself. Jocasta becomes convinced that Oedipus murdered Laius.
1077-1185 Oedipus brings in the herdsman who rescued him as a child. Oedipus squeezes the information out of the herdsman and realizes that he is the son of Laius and Jocasta, killed his father (Laius) and slept with his mother (Jocasta).
1186-1297 Long lament by the Chorus. A second messenger reports Jocasta's suicide.
1298-1422 Oedipus blinds himself. Oedipus claims he will suffer more by blinding himself than by suidice.
1423-1475 Oedipus asks Creon to banish him from Thebes and administer rites to Jocasta.
1476-1515 Oedipus laments for his daughters, Antigone and Ismene.
1516-1530 Conclusion. Chorus indicates that Oedipus will continue to live after the tragedy's ending.
Timeline of Relevant Events
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