Oedipus
("swollen foot")

Tragic king of Thebes, con of Laius and Jocasta, who was left to die by his father with a spear through his foot, since an oracle had said Oedipus would kill him. The baby was found by a shepherd, who named him and gave him to be adopted by the king Polybus of Corinth.
When it was prophesised that Oedipus would kill his father, he left, not knowing Polybus was not his real parent. On his way he met a man he took for a robber, and killed him. This turned out to be Laius, thus the prophecy was fulfilled.
On his way towards Thebes he met the Sphinx, a creatures who would only let the person who could solve its' riddle live. The question was: what begins with four legs, lives with two and dies with three. The wise Oedipus answered: man, for he is born crawling, lives walking and dies with a cain in his hand. Then he killed the monster.
As a reward for killing the Sphinx Oedipus married Queen Jocasta, neither of them knowing who he really was. They had four children: Antigone, Ismene, Crean and Polynices. On discovering who he really was, Oedipus tore out his eyes, cursed himself and his sons and left Thebes with Antigone, and Jocasta committed suicide.
He died at a shrine of the Eumenides near Athens and became the protecting hero of the city.
The story of Oedipus inspired Shakespeare when he wrote king Lear, and when Freud spoke of the Oedipus complex, he meant the son's secret wish to kill his father and marry his mother.


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