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Enter Oedipus. Oedipus Iocasta, dearest wife, why have you summoned me forth from these doors? Iocasta Hear this man, and judge, as you listen, what the awful oracles have come to. Oedipus Who is he and what news does he have for me? Iocasta He comes from Corinth to tell you that your father Polybus lives no longer, but has perished. Oedipus How, stranger? Let me have it from your own mouth. Messenger If I must first make these tidings plain, know indeed that he is dead and gone. Oedipus By treachery, or from illness? Messenger A light tilt of the scale brings the aged to their rest. Oedipus Ah, he died, it seems, of sickness? Messenger Yes, and of the long years that he had lived. Oedipus Alas, alas! Why indeed, my wife, should one look to thehearth of the Pythian seer, or to the birds that scream above our heads, who declared that I was doomed to slay my father? But he is dead, and lies beneath the earth, and here I am, not having put my hand to any spear—unless, perha
Oedipus It will not be kept from you, now that my forebodings have advanced so far. To whom more than to you would I speak in suffering such a fortune as this? My father was Polybus of Corinth,my mother the Dorian Merope. I was considered the greatest of the folk in that town, until a chance event befell me, worthy, indeed, of wonder, though not of my overreaction regarding it. At a banquet, a man drunk with winecast it at me that I was not the true son of my father. And I, vexed, restra
ll of sorrow and terror and woe: that I was fated to defile my mother's bed, that I would reveal to men a brood which they could not endure to behold, and that I would slay the father that sired me. When I heard this, I turned in flight from the land of Corinth,from then on thinking of it only by its position under the stars, to some spot where I should never see fulfillment of the infamies foretold in my evil fate. And on my way I came to the land in which you say that this prince perished.