The Mental Museum

Gustave Moreau

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Oedipus’s was born to King Laitus and Queen Jocasta of Thebes, the main city in Upper Egypt in ancient Greece. When Jocasta was pregnant with Oedipus, Laitus consulted an oracle and the oracle told him that his son was destined to kill him and marry his mother. In fear of this happening, Laitus left his own baby son out in the woods to die. The baby Oedipus was found by the King and Queen of Corinth. As for the sphinx; the city of Thebes was afflicted with a monster which infested the highroads. It was called the Sphinx and had the body of a lion and the upper part of a woman. It lay crouched on the top of a rock, and arrested all travelers who came that way. She would propose to them a riddle, with the condition that those who could solve it should pass safely, but those who failed should be killed. No one yet had succeeded in solving it; thus everyone had been killed. One day, a wandering Oediups approached the Sphinx and he received the riddle as follows; “What animal is that which in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two and in the evening upon three?” Oediupus replied: “Man; who in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks erect, and in old age with the aid of a staff.” The sphinx was mortified at the fact that Oedipus had solved his riddle. She fell from her rock and perished. The gratitude of the people of Thebes for the death of the feared Sphinx was so great that they made Oedipus their king, giving him in marriage to their widowed queen, Jocasta. Unbenounced to Oediups, he was about to marry his biological mother and fulfill the prophecy that had laid before him all his life. When Oedipus later learned the truth, he went insane, gouged out his eyes and wander the countryside, cared for by his daughters till death.


Written by thementalmuseum

March 6, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Posted in Art

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