1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Oedipus Rex Quotes

By

Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) is a famous play by Sophocles. He was fated to murder his father and marry his mother. Here are a few quotes from the play.
  • "Ah! my poor children, known, ah, known too well,
    The quest that brings you hither and your need.
    Ye sicken all, well wot I, yet my pain,
    How great soever yours, outtops it all."
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • "Mind you, I speak as one who comes a stranger
    To this report, no less than to the crime;
    For how unaided could I track it far
    Without a clue?"
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • "I go, but first will tell thee why I came.
    Thy frown I dread not, for thou canst not harm me.
    Hear then: this man whom thou hast sought to arrest
    With threats and warrants this long while, the wretch
    Who murdered Laius--that man is here.
    He passes for an alien in the land
    But soon shall prove a Theban, native born.
    And yet his fortune brings him little joy;
    For blind of seeing, clad in beggar's weeds,
    For purple robes, and leaning on his staff,
    To a strange land he soon shall grope his way.
    And of the children, inmates of his home,
    He shall be proved the brother and the sire,
    Of her who bare him son and husband both,
    Co-partner, and assassin of his sire.
    Go in and ponder this, and if thou find
    That I have missed the mark, henceforth declare
    I have no wit nor skill in prophecy."
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • "O wealth and empiry and skill by skill
    Outwitted in the battlefield of life,
    What spite and envy follow in your train!
    See, for this crown the State conferred on me.
    A gift, a thing I sought not, for this crown
    The trusty Creon, my familiar friend,
    Hath lain in wait to oust me and suborned
    This mountebank, this juggling charlatan,
    This tricksy beggar-priest, for gain alone
    Keen-eyed, but in his proper art stone-blind.
    Say, sirrah, hast thou ever proved thyself
    A prophet? When the riddling Sphinx was here
    Why hadst thou no deliverance for this folk?
    And yet the riddle was not to be solved
    By guess-work but required the prophet's art"
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • "He cries, 'Unbar the doors and let all Thebes
    Behold the slayer of his sire, his mother's--'
    That shameful word my lips may not repeat.
    He vows to fly self-banished from the land,
    Nor stay to bring upon his house the curse
    Himself had uttered; but he has no strength
    Nor one to guide him, and his torture's more
    Than man can suffer, as yourselves will see.
    For lo, the palace portals are unbarred,
    And soon ye shall behold a sight so sad
    That he who must abhorred would pity it."
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • "He cries, 'Unbar the doors and let all Thebes
    Behold the slayer of his sire, his mother's--'
    That shameful word my lips may not repeat.
    He vows to fly self-banished from the land,
    Nor stay to bring upon his house the curse
    Himself had uttered; but he has no strength
    Nor one to guide him, and his torture's more
    Than man can suffer, as yourselves will see.
    For lo, the palace portals are unbarred,
    And soon ye shall behold a sight so sad
    That he who must abhorred would pity it."
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • "Dark, dark! The horror of darkness, like a shroud,
    Wraps me and bears me on through mist and cloud.
    Ah me, ah me! What spasms athwart me shoot,
    What pangs of agonizing memory?"
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • "What's done was well done. Thou canst never shake
    My firm belief. A truce to argument.
    For, had I sight, I know not with what eyes
    I could have met my father in the shades,
    Or my poor mother, since against the twain
    I sinned, a sin no gallows could atone.
    Aye, but, ye say, the sight of children joys
    A parent's eyes. What, born as mine were born?"
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • "Though I cannot behold you, I must weep
    In thinking of the evil days to come,
    The slights and wrongs that men will put upon you.
    Where'er ye go to feast or festival,
    No merrymaking will it prove for you,
    But oft abashed in tears ye will return.
    And when ye come to marriageable years,
    Where's the bold wooers who will jeopardize
    To take unto himself such disrepute
    As to my children's children still must cling,
    For what of infamy is lacking here?"
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • "Look ye, countrymen and Thebans, this is Oedipus the great,
    He who knew the Sphinx's riddle and was mightiest in our state.
    Who of all our townsmen gazed not on his fame with envious eyes?
    Now, in what a sea of troubles sunk and overwhelmed he lies!
    Therefore wait to see life's ending ere thou count one mortal blest;
    Wait till free from pain and sorrow he has gained his final rest."
    - Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.