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What should a mortal man fear, for whom the decrees of Fortune are supreme, and who has clear foresight of nothing? It is best to live at random, as one may. [980] But fear not that you will wed your mother. Many men before now have slept with their mothers in dreams. But he to whom these things are as though nothing bears his life most easily.

All these words of yours would have been well said, [985] were my mother not alive. But as it is, since she lives, I must necessarily fear, though you do speak well.

Your father's death is a great sign for us to take cheer.

Great, I know. But my fear is of her who lives.

And who is the woman about whom you fear?

[990] Merope, old man, the consort of Polybus.

And what is it in her that moves your fear?

A divine oracle of dread import, stranger.

Proper, or improper, for another to know?

Proper, surely. Loxias once said that I was [995] doomed to marry my own mother, and to shed with my own hands my father's blood. For which reasons I long shirked my home in Corinth—with a happy outcome, to be sure, but still it is sweet to see the face of one's parents.

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  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 866
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 531
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 202
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
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