Oracle, Edict, and Curse in Oedipus Tyrannus

Classical Quarterly 23 (02):202- (1973)
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Apollo's oracle gives specific instructions concerning the treatment of the murderer of Laius. Oedipus issues an edict of excommunication and bindshimself under a curse. I wish to examine the relationship between these three pronouncements as they occur initially and as they are used throughout the play. The basis of what I have to say is tentative in that it consists in a particular interpretation of Oedipus' addres, 216 ff., and in the assumption that Sophocles employed a distinction between an edict, that is a secular command of the kingas governing authority, and a curse which, once pronounced, is felt to operate independently. However, both the interpretation and the assumption are farfrom arbitrary, and if they are acceptable the resulting analysis reveals whatmight be called Sophocles' creative use of past episodes. The terms of the oraclegive way to an edict of excommunication, and this in turn, becomes the contentof a curse which initially had a different content



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Greek Tragedy. [REVIEW]H. D. F. Kitto - 1942 - The Classical Review 56 (1):27-29.

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