November 10, 2006


Goat Rope is pleased to continue alpine goat Cornelius Agrippa's ongoing series on ancient Greek culture and tragedy.

Cornelius is Goat Rope Farm's Dean of Classical and Alchemistical Studies. Check out his earlier weekend commentaries in the GR archives


OK, like sometimes in Greek tragedy people get full of hubris and then suffer a stunning reversal of fortune.

Good thing that never happens in real life, huh? Especially like if you were in a position of power or something.

Anyway, this week I'm going to talk about Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles.

Have you ever noticed that the more you try to avoid some things, the more they kick you in the butt?

Or that sometimes you think you want to know something that you find you don't really want to konw when you finally know it?

That's pretty much it. And if you think your family life bites, this play will make you feel a lot better.

Here's the backstory. An oracle revealed that Oedipus was destined to kill his pops and marry his mom. So his dad Laius orders him exposed. Except like this shepherd dude feels sorry for him and saves him and he winds up being raised by another king in Corinth instead of Thebes.

Young Oed thinks his adoptive parents are his real ones so he bugs out and runs away when he hears about the oracle. Then he kills this jerk on the road who later turns out to be his dad.

He gets to be ruler of Thebes and marry Queen Jocasta (you guessed it)because he solves the riddle of the sphinx. Something about how many lightbulbs...

Then this plague breaks out and Oed says he'll get to the bottom of it. He calls in the blind seer Tiresias to find out who committed the crime that caused the plague (it wasn't the drinking water). The blind dude doesn't want to tell him and Oed gets an attitude about it. Finally he tells the truth.

Oed didn't believe it but he gets proof. His mother/wife kills herself and he pokes out his eyes.

I hate it when that happens.

But here's the deal. The blind guy is blind but he sees. Oed can see but is blind. And when he finally does see he puts out his eyes. So like at first he sees but doesn't see and then he doesn't see but sees.




Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So this is why we get the hots for girls who remind us of our moms???

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the queen be a little old for him? I mean he's some young dude, and she's old enough... to be his mom.

Didn't he watch The Graduate or anything?