Wecklein brackets these nine verses, thinking that they arose from a misunderstanding of 551-554. Theseus divined the name of Oedipus from the description of his person; but these vv. were inserted by one who thought it necessary to explain how Theseus knew the name. I hold the verses to be genuine. The “ξένος” must have been sent to Athens by the Chorus before they came to the grove (117), and could not, therefore, know the name of Oedipus (first disclosed at 222). He could only tell Theseus that there was a blind stranger at Colonus, who hinted at his own power to confer benefits (72), and who looked noble (76). Theseus, on entering (551), at once greets Oedipus by name, though he had never seen him before (68). He had divined the identity through a knowledge of the history (553) — i.e. he started from Athens on the strength of what the “ξένος” could tell. And on the way to Colonus (adds Theseus) he has been made certain of the fact (554) — i.e. he had heard the name. Now, it was precisely for such certainty that the dramatist meant this passage to provide. He felt that otherwise there might have been too great improbability in the instant confidence of the recognition by Theseus.
Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments, with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose. Part II: The Oedipus Coloneus. Sir Richard C. Jebb. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 1899.
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