For example, if the gods know what will happen, and events are pre-ordained, how can people make free choices or have any semblance of free will? If the gods put challenges in our way that we fail to rise to, are we responsible for the consequences? Would knowing the future, as Oedipus does, cause us to act or behave any differently?
The ancient scribe Sophocles wrote "Oedipus the King" between B. These festivals were major civic occasions, with attendance expected of all noted writers. In his play Sophocles goes out of his way to present Oedipus as an extremely capable, beloved ruler. It should be noted that Sophocles never suggests that Oedipus has brought his destiny on himself by any "ungodly pride" hubris or "tragic flaw" hamartia , common themes in Greek tragedies.
Sophocles also makes a special effort to explain that Oedipus killed King Laius in self-defense, and a major theme in the tragic play is whether one can believe in oracles and seers. The title of the play, from which is derived the story, is often given in its Latin translation "Oedipus Rex" , rather than in its original Greek "Oedipus Tyranneus" , since the Greek term for king is the English "tyrant", which means a monarch who rules without the consent of the people.
Laius and his wife Jocasta or Iocasta were King and Queen of Thebes, a prosperous and famous city state in ancient Greece. King Laius, as many people did those days, consulted Apollo's revered oracle of Delphi for advice and to find out what the future held for him.
What the oracle announced shocked the royal couple -- The Delphic oracle said that the King's son would grow up and kill him! To make matters worse, it was prophesized that the son would marry his mother and produce offspring by her.
King Laius and Queen Jocasta were understandably aghast! A short time later Queen Jocasta became pregnant and gave birth to a darling little baby boy. Remembering with fear the oracle of Delphi's words, the royal couple of Thebes had the infant's feet pierced and tied together -- that's the meaning of the name Oedipus, "swollen feet". It must have been introduced to explain the hero's name. Hold everything, I stand corrected. Here is an informative note sent by reader Adam Johnston on July 1, Many thanks to Adam for taking time to bring this to my attention.
Laius and Jocasta knew that their baby son had to be destroyed, but they didn't have the heart to do so themselves. They instructed their most trusted slave to expose the hapless baby on Mount Cithaeron, a wild and beast-filled place where the infant surely would perish. In those days, it was usual to leave an unwanted or defective baby in the wilderness.
However, the slave glanced down at the innocent child and took pity on it. Knowing that the royal couple of the nearby city state of Corinth was childless, and desperately desired a son, the slave left the crying infant, its feet still pierced and bound by a pin, in a place sure to be found. Sure enough, a kindly shepherd discovered the baby and brought the foundling for adoption to King Polibus and Queen Merope of Corinth.
Oedipus was raised as a son by Polibus and Merope and grew to be a handsome, clever and brave young man, even though he walked with a slight limp from the wounds he suffered when his real parents pierced his feet.
One day, while playing with his adolescent friends, he got into an argument with them. They insisted, as mean children sometimes do, that he was a fake son, and not the real child of Polibus and Merope. When Oedipus confronted his "parents" about this, they denied that he was adopted and swore that he was their legitimate child.
They told Oedipus to forget what the mean kids had said, but now he was intrigued. To discover the truth for himself, Oedipus journeyed to Delphi and asked of the oracle, "Who am I?
Confused and devastated, the young man started to head back home. Nearing the crossroad, Oedipus decided never to return to Corinth and go to Thebes instead. He dearly loved his parents and thought that by never returning home he would keep them safe and thus overcome his Fate according to Apollo's oracle.
As he was approaching the crossroad between Delphi, Thebes and Corinth, distraught and deep in thought, Oedipus came upon an old man in a chariot, escorted by a few attendants.
It was a narrow passage between two rocks and hard to navigate safely. The crabby old man in the chariot shouted: Get off this road! Adding further injury, the rude, regal old man ran over the young man's sore foot with his chariot wheel. Oedipus angrily grabbed the staff from his tormentor's hands and hit him on the head, killing the old man.
The same fate befell the attendants, who tried to attack and arrest Oedipus - he valiantly fought and killed them too, save for one servant, who ran away in panic when the battle broke out. Hey, he just wanted to cross the narrow passage, that's all! Besides, Oedipus was simply defending himself, and he got there first! Little did Oedipus suspect that the old man he had just slain was his own father, and that the first part of the oracle's prophecy had come true No sooner had he disposed of these bad people, Oedipus came face to face with the Sphinx, sitting on her rock at the crossroad.
This creature, a winged lion with the head of a woman, had taken up residence outside of the city of Thebes and was terrorizing the populace.
Anybody who passed by the monster was asked this riddle by her: Who in the morning walks on four legs, at midday on two, and in the evening on three? Her rock and lair was surrounded with a pile of human bones, for the Sphinx ate those who could not answer the riddle.
Yet Oedipus was wise and not about to be devoured by a foul-smelling monster. He replied that the answer is Man: Crawling on all fours as a baby; walking on two legs as an adult; and as an old man, leaning on a cane. The riddle was solved and the Sphinx had to throw herself down from the cliff to her doom. The road to Thebes was now free of terror. Because of the griffin's strength and powers of sight, it was believed to guard hidden treasures and hide them in their nests with their young.
Because of its association with the Holy Grail, one of the treasures most commonly guarded by griffins was emeralds. The Holy Grail was carved from a single emerald. It was used to hold the wine at the Last Supper and believed to have magical powers. Other popular treasures guarded by griffins were the Tree of Life, knowledge, and the roads to salvation.
Greeks and Romans used griffin images to guard tombs. Griffins are a symbol of the sun, wisdom, vengeance, strength, and salvation. From Thomas Bullfinch's Age of Fable.
The Griffin is a monster with the body of a lion, the head and wings of an eagle, and back covered with feathers. Like birds it builds its nest, and instead of an egg lays an agate therein.
It has long claws and talons of such a size that the people of that country make them into drinking-cups. India was assigned as the native country of the Griffins. They found gold in the mountains and built their nests of it, for which reason their nests were very tempting to the hunters, and they were forced to keep vigilant guard over them. Their instinct led them to know where buried treasures lay, and they did their best to keep plunderers at a distance.
The Arimaspians, among whom the Griffins flourished, were a one-eyed people of Scythia. Thank you Thomas Bullfinch! Gryphon's Eyrie "is dedicated to gryphons - mythological beasts commonly depicted as having the head, forelegs and wings of an eagle, and the hindquarters, tail and occasionally ears of a lion. They have been known for centuries as symbols of strength and vigilance, and have been called "The Hounds of Zeus".
In some mythologies, they represent the wealth of the sun. In others, they are said to have hoardes of fabulous treasure, which they guard endlessly. The Dictionary of Symbolism quotes Boeckler as offering the following interpretation of this fabulous animal: Griffins are portrayed with a lion's body, an eagle's head, long ears, and an eagle's claws, to indicate that one must combine intelligence and strength. At the same time, you authorize essay4less.
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