Background of the play

The Oedipus myth, to which the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles belongs, is part of the cycle of legends dealing with the origin of the city of Thebes. The founder and ancestor of this city was Kadmos. He managed to defeat a dragon guarding a spring. At the instructions of the goddess Athena, he sowed the teeth of this dragon into the earth, from which grew giant warriors who fought and killed each other. 

Kadmos founded a castle called Kadmeia with the five survivors of this battle. He was a very popular and respected ruler and Thebes experienced a distinctly happy time under him. Later, his grandson Labdakos became ruler of Thebes. Kadmos had a son named Laius, who during a stay at the court of King Pelops fell in love with his son Chrysippos. He kidnapped him and carried him off by force to Thebes. Ashamed of what Laius had done to him, Chrysippos hanged himself, whereupon Laius was cursed by Pelops. The curse said that Laius would never have a son of his own and, if he did, would find death at his hands. 

Laius married Jocasta and their marriage actually remained childless for a long period of time. He then consulted the oracle at Delphi, which confirme...

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