"Oedipus, Sophocles"


Oedipus and the Sphinx by Ingres
Public DomainOedipus and the Sphinx by Ingres

In Greek myth, Oedipus (“swollen-footed”) was cast out by his parents, Laius and Jocasta, the rulers of Thebes, because of a prophecy that their son would kill his father and marry his mother. Left to die in the wilderness with his ankles pinned together, the boy was found by a shepherd and turned over to Polybus, king of Corinth, who raised Oedipus as his own.

This 1808 painting of Oedipus answering the riddles of the Sphinx was executed by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867).

The great Greek tragedian Sophocles (c. 496 – 406 BCE) wrote the most famous and influential drama about Oedipus. See a more extensive note on Sophocles' play in the Bookmark for page 153.