The play Oedipus the King by Sophocles takes place in the city of Thebes. At the beginning of the play, the plague is raging, and the population is frightened. Animals and people are dying in droves, and the fields are no longer fertile. The people lay laurel and olive branches on the altars and beg their king Oedipus for help. 

Oedipus is compassionate and sympathizes with the suffering of his people. He instructs his brother-in-law Creon to seek the advice of the oracle of Apollo. Creon reports that the plague can be stopped only if the murderer of the former king Laius is found. Laius was Oedipus' predecessor on the Theban royal throne, and Oedipus married Jocasta, the widow left behind, after Laius' death. Oedipus makes a public pledge to find Laius' murderer.

The people do not seem to know who killed Laius. The leader of the chorus advises Oedipus to get a second opinion, namely that of the blind seer Tiresias. Tiresias gives confusing hints about Oedipus' fate, which leads to an argument between the two. 

Oedipus also accuses his brother-in-law Creon of a lack of loyalty to the royal house. His wife Jocasta, the widow of Laius, urges them to settle the dispute, as does t...

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