King Oedipus (PAC BlackBox Theatre Production) for Broadcast

OEDIPUS>>Children! Why have you come? why are you here,
Crouching at my altars? I look around,I see our city
heavy with clouds of incense; So I have come myself, I, Oedipus,
Known to everyone. Come, old man, old priest of Zeus, Speak for them all,
your age gives you that right. I know, I see, their hearts are heavy
with fear;Its why I have come, for there’s nothing I won’t do,
Nothing to help them. My heart isn’t made of stone How could it be? These are mine, My people, groaning, suffering,
here at my feet. PRIEST>>Oedipus,
ruler of Thebes, you see before you,
Prostrate at your altars, people of all ages. And here, youths Chosen from those not married,
our dearest treasure. But we are not all, my lord,
there are many more, You have only to look, my lord,
to see Our trees are blighted
In the bud, herds of cattle, sheep and goats, Wither, collapse in the fields, our women give birth
To stillborn things, and we,
we stagger and stumble, Weak with hunger, gasping for air,
for breath, While the cruel god of fever, searing fever,
Swoops down upon us, cutting, slashing, seizing
Our city, emptying houses, hateful Plague! My King, we haven’t come because we think
Of you as of a god; no, we know you To be a man
and only a man; A man well practiced in the ways
of life And living, as well as wise
in the ways of god. You freed us from that harsh
singer the Sphinx And cut the cord that bound us
to the tribute We paid to her. Not one of us gave you advice Or instructed you
or helped in any way. And yet you triumphed; a god was with you, they say; We all know that:
you saved our lives that day. So now, Oedipus,
we turn again to you, For only the greatest of men
Can lead us to a cure. You, a man tested by experience, A man who wields power:
fuse action and thought And make us well!
Raise up suffering Thebes! Raise us to our feet again,
Oedipus! Raise our city high
as you did once! OEDIPUS>>Children!
How I pity you! I know the need
that brings you here! Believe me, I know
How sick you are; and yet, of all of you,
Not one is sicker than I. The pain you suffer
Strikes each of you alone; and yet, my heart
Grieves for each of you, And for the city,
and for myself. I have sent my wife’s
brother, Kreon, to Apollo’s shrine at Delphi, Instructing him to learn
from the Pythian oracle What prayers or rituals
I can offer to help me Save Thebes Now, Where could he be? Too long by now. It troubles me. But once he arrives,
I would be a traitor If I failed to carry out
what the god reveals. PRIEST>>Well spoken,
and just in time! He’s here! OEDIPUS>>Lord Apollo,
let him come with news As bright as the gleam in his eyes! Kreon, what news has Apollo sent us? KREON>>News that we should
find hopeful. Troubles hard to bear, he says, are bearable
If all goes well! OEDIPUS>>Yes, but I don’t understand. What does it mean? I have heard
riddles. What do we do? KREON>>In front of these people? Now? We can go inside. OEDIPUS>>No, let the city hear My people mean more than my life! KREON>>Then here are
the god’s words, clear beyond doubt. Apollo commands that we are
to drive from Thebes The ancient pollution that
stains everything and everyone, A pollution that we
have nourished for many years, That eats at our very core!
We must purge it away, OEDIPUS>>Pollution? What are you saying?
How can we purify Thebes? KREON>>Banishment or blood.
Blood for blood. For bloodshed sent this
plague-storm on our city. OEDIPUS: Who is this man
the god condemns? KREON>> Before you arrived and
set our city on course And took up power,
Laios ruled in Thebes. OEDIPUS>>I know. I have heard.
I never saw him. KREON>>Laios was murdered. Apollo commands us now
And very clearly, too to avenge those men. Whoever they are. OEDIPUS>>But where?
Where are they? How do we to find clues to
of a crime so old? KREON>>Apollo says here
in Thebes. What we pursue will be caught; OEDIPUS>>Where was Laios
murdered? In his palace? Out of the country? KREON>>He said he
was going to Delphi. He never returned. OEDIPUS>>Was no one with him?
No messenger? No one to tell what happened? No witness?
KREON>>All but one were killed, and he fled in panic. He remembered only one thing
for certain. OEDIPUS>>And?
One clue can lead to others. KREON>>He said that he was killed not by one man, But a marauding horde of bandits. OEDIPUS>>Bandit?
Kill a king? How would he dare! Unless Unless he was paid in Theban gold. KREON: We suspected as much.
But Laios was dead; We had no king to help us
in our distress. OEDIPUS: Your king killed,
your throne empty, And you failed to uncover every
shred of evidence? KREON>>The riddling song of the
Sphinx persuaded us otherwise. It seemed to tell us to deal
not with the past, But with the present, with
our more immediate troubles. OEDIPUS>>Then Then I will begin again, and bring truth to light. It was good of the god and
of you, Kreon! To rise again in defense
of the dead man. And yet, In defending Laios.
I won’t be acting To defend some distant friend,
but for my sake; For whatever man killed him,
killed Laios, you might turn
His hand against me. In defending Laios,
I defend myself. Call the people of Thebes
to assembly! Tell them that I will do
everything possible to help; And if the god wills,
luck will triumph; If not, then we are doomed. PRIEST>>May Apollo who sent
these oracles come himself To deliver us
from this plague! Chorus>>Oh Leader>>How sweet is
the message of Zeus! What word do you bring me
from Delphi? From Pytho’s
gold-rich temple? What word do you bring here
to Thebes? Chorus>>What do you ask me? What is your will? What new doom
do you bring upon me? Or is it renewed with
the circling of years? Raise up your voice,
immortal daughter! Child of Golden Hope,
give us hope? Leader>>Athena,
first I summon you; daughter of Zeus;
eternal maiden! And then your sister, throned in the market; splendid Artemis,
land’s guardian! And Apollo, archer of the unfailing aim! Triple defenders against doom, appear! Rise before me! Let me see you! You who shielded me once! Chorus>>Appear! Leader>> You who averted
my ruin! Chorus>>Appear! Leader>>You who defended
my city! Chorus>>Appear! Leader>>Gods who banished
the fires of doom! Chorus>>Hear me! Leader>>You the triple defenders of Thebes! Chorus>>Help me! [MUSIC] The city wavers, stumbles
and falls Un-numbered dead, graceless
bodies, heavy with death. Raising prayers to Apollo,
young wives and old Cries and laments are heard
from all directions! Golden child of Zeus Athena send your strength Zeus! Father with lightning bolts, Destroy the invader, Crush him with the thunder
of your brow. Ares, fire raging god
god of war storms among us! Un-armored he comes!
Un-shielded he comes! He burns me! Bruiting his clamorous song! Drive him back! Drive him back from my borders. If tonight I escape him,
the fiery god, the god of death. His fever returns with the sun, And I die. Apollo, Lord of Light! Let your arrows stand guard
before Thebes! Bakkos, God of Wine! Who bears our cities’ name. Master of furies who cry Descend with your torch
upon Ares! The fiery god!
The feverous god! The god of death! Burn him! Burn him,
whom all the gods hate! OEDIPUS>>I have heard
your prayers. Now, listen to me. I am moved by your plight. Now here is my answer;
but you must do your part, too. Until today,
I knew nothing of this tale. I was a stranger here, A stranger to the crime as
to the city, Arriving only after your
king.s death, Made a Theban only then. But hear me out. There is one among you who
knows who killed King Laios, Who is he? I ask you
To tell me now. Let him speak and clear himself
of the charge. I assure him that he
will not be harmed, He will not go stumbling
into exile, But leave the land in good
and proper health. If anyone knows the murderer
to be a stranger, A foreigner from an alien land,
let him speak, For he will have a reward
as well as my gratitude. If,
however, you keep your silence, refusing to speak in hope of
shielding yourself or a friend
Or loved one from my edict, then hear this: I command every citizen
of the land To give no shelter Or word to him, whoever he may be! Drive him out of every house,
out of every hearth Drive him out of the land,
out of Thebes. For he is our pollution,
our corruption, and our disease, And I,
as Apollo’s warrior, Take up arms now in defense
of the dead man. As for the murderer,
whether he acted alone, A single man and unknown,
or one of many, I pray that his evil life
be ground down To miserable and wretched days! As for me, If I have given shelter and
shared my hearth, Knowingly, with that man, Then may the same curse
Turn back to haunt me. These are my orders: He was your king who died, First among men! But now, holding the power
that he once held, holding his marital bed
and wife, the wife who now bears me
children That might have been his had
Chance not denied him a son, Now I say this: I will take up his cause
as son to father, And vow not to give up the fight to the hand that
murdered Laios Is brought to light! And to those who will not listen, Who refuse to help,
may the gods blight your fields Till you die of hunger, and may they infect the wombs
of your wives with stony barrenness! As for you people of Thebes,
loyal citizens Who support me in this,
may Justice, Our ally, and all the gods stand by and protect us
In the battle still to come! LEADER>>In light of your curse,
my lord, I can only say
that I am not the murderer, nor can I point To the one who
is. Apollo ordered the search, Apollo should tell us
how to properly find him. OEDIPUS>>A man force a god
to speak? LEADER>>Then may I suggest
the next best thing? OEDIPUS>>Even if it is a third,
let us hear it. LEADER>>The prophet Teiresias, sir. Next to Apollo, he has
the keenest sight Where truth is concerned.
We could learn from him. OEDIPUS>>Teiresias, yes!
On Kreons advice, I have sent for him already.
Twice, in fact. Now where could he be? LEADER>>Here is the only man
who knows: The holy, inspired prophet. God’s truth lives bright
as day in his dark eyes. OEDIPUS: Teiresias, seer who knows all things, Master of omens earthly
and divine, Of things that can be learned,
and things mysterious: Though your eyes are blind,
you know and see The plague that sears our city. You alone, my lord,
Can save us Share your gifts now, old man, your powers of divination;
read the flights of birds, Or else use other means, but spare us nothing
Nothing. rescue us. Care for yourself for the city,
for me; Pull us from danger that
the dead man brings upon us. There can be no nobler act
for a man Than to use every means
in helping others. TEIRESIAS>>How terrible truth
can be when all it brings to the one
who knows is pain! I knew this once,
I knew it well, but I forgot.
I drove it out. No, I should never have come. OEDIPUS>>Never have come?
Why so bleak, so despairing? TEIRESIAS>>Let me go home! You will bear your fate,
I will bear mine; It is better this way. OEDIPUS>>Who are you to say
such things to Thebes That gave you life!
Tell us what you know! TEIRESIAS>>No,
nothing Be careful: your own words are not
as well-aimed as you may think. You’re blind-all of you; OEDIPUS>>Know and not tell? Are you set on betraying Thebes? You could inflame a stone
to anger! Won’t talk?
Well, I say talk! TEIRESIAS>>You rant against
my temper? You don’t know the one
you live with! OEDIPUS>>Who could listen to
your insults and not be angry! You shame your city! TEIRESIAS>>Speech or silence,
what will be, will be. OEDIPUS>>If what will be
will be, then tell me! TEIRESIAS>>No! Nothing! Rage on!
I have nothing to say! OEDIPUS>>And rage I will! For I will speak!
Yes, and in anger, too! All I suspect!
Hear me now! I say that you
helped plot the death of Laios! Plotted it in every
way you could, Even though your hand
never struck a blow! Oh, and if you had eyes, I would
even say you did that, too! TEIRESIAS>>Aha! Then take responsibility for
your own words And carry out your edict
to the letter: Never to speak another
word to me or to anyone here in Thebes: for you yourself
Are this land’s curse, you are this land’s corruption!
You! The plague is you! OEDIPUS>>And you really think
to get by with this? TEIRESIAS>>I have already.
My strength is truth. OEDIPUS>>Who taught you this?
Your prophets craft? TEIRESIAS>>You! In forcing
me to speak. OEDIPUS>>Then say it again so
I will understand! TEIRESIAS>>Did I make no
sense? Are you testing me now? OEDIPUS>>Not so I know it
clearly! Again! TEIRESIAS>>You. you are
the murderer you’re hunting. I say that you are living a life
of shame With those who are closest
to you, And yet you are blind,
blind to the evil! OEDIPUS>>You’ll pay
for this, old man. TEIRESIAS>>It is you
who are blind, and soon all men will curse
you, as you curse me. OEDIPUS>>Protected by darkness,
you could never harm me Or any other man with sight. Are these inventions yours
orKreon’s? TEIRESIAS>>Kreon’s no threat.
Your doom is yourself. OEDIPUS>>Ah, wealth!
Ah, kingship! What envy is stored up
against you here, if Kreon, loyal Kreon,
Trusted friend, plots in secret to steal
my throne, a throne not sought by me but offered
by Thebes in gratitude, Tell me, friend Teiresias When was your skill as prophet
ever proved? Not when that raucous sphinx
chanted her spells of death and destruction! Why were you silent then? Where were your words
to liberate this city? Where were you and your
birds of prophesy? Where were the gods,
for all that? Then I came along!
I! Poor ignorant Oedipus! No birds to give my wisdom
flightonly thought! And this is the man you seek
to overthrow! To stand secure beside King
Kreon’s throne! LEADER>>he spoke in anger,
As you did, and that we don’t need. Our task is how to fulfill
the god’s oracle. TEIRESIAS>>You may be king,
Oedipus, but I’m your equal In one respect at least:
the right to speak, I belong to Apollo and
I say what I please. You mocked me, mocked my blindness,
you slandered me, So now I say to you
who still have eyes, Eyes that are blind to the
wretchedness of your life, That you do not know in
whose house it is you live; That you do not know with
whom you share that house; That you do not know your
origins! Who are your parents? Do you know? Do you know
the evil you have done To your own,
done to your family, The two-pronged curse of
your father and your mother Will one day whip you,
whip you out of this land, Whip you and stalk you down
with its deadly stride, Whip you out of Thebes! Ah! And your eyes! Your eyes, that now see day,
will stare into darkness, Stare into endless night;
and your cries, Terrible in their sound
will echo from every valley, from every gully and stone, From every blind path
on Kithairon, And shake them with the sound when you have learned
the meaning Of your marriage, Vilify me, then, curse my words, Words that stream from Apollo; insult Kreon; But no man will ever
know greater sorrow, Greater pain and defeat,
and be ground down To common dust as will you! OEDIPUS>>I won’t hear this!
Not from this man! Damn you! Out of my sight!
Leave my palace! Now! TEIRESIAS>>Would I be here
if you hadn’t asked me? OEDIPUS>>Had I known you would
talk such fool’s drivel, I would never have brought you here! TEIRESIAS>>A fool to you,
perhaps, but not to your parents. OEDIPUS>>Wait! Stop!
Who are my parents? TEIRESIAS>>Today you were born,
today will destroy you. OEDIPUS>>Damn your riddles!
Are they your wisdom? TEIRESIAS: Ah, but aren’t you
the master of riddles? OEDIPUS>>Mock me! You will soon
discover it is true! TEIRESIAS>>The same luck
has brought your ruin. OEDIPUS>>If it saved the city,
then I don’t care! TEIRESIAS: I will leave
you, then. OEDIPUS>>Go! Good riddance! TEIRESIAS>>I will go, once I
have said what I came to say, And no scowls or threats of
yours will frighten me. The man that you have looked
for all this time, The man that you have cursed
and threatened with death, The murderer of Laios
that man is here Here in Thebes. He who now has eyes
will be blind, He who now has wealth
will be a beggar He will go tapping his stick
with every step Along foreign roads,
knowing himself brother To his own children, husband and son to her
Who gave him birth sower of the field
His father plowed his own father s murderer. Go inside now and think it out; if you find that I have
lied, then say That the blind old prophet
has no understanding! Chorus>>Who is he? Who is the man? Who is the man denounced
in Delphi? Who is he? Who is the man? Whose hands are stained
with blood of unspeakable horror? Hunt him down! Hunt down the unknown man! Hunt him down! Relentless fate that cannot
know defeat! Terrible,
terrible fear gone wild! Born of prophet’s words! Confusion mounting high. I ponder. I question.
Filled with doubt. His words, can I believe them?
Can I deny them? I hover on wings,
No place to light. How can I stand against my king? Oedipus, famed throughout
the land. How can I stand against my king? Can Laïus’ blood stain Oedipus’ hand? Not ’til I see, Not ’til I know, Not ’til the proof points
to my king. Not ’til I see,
Will I believe, He raised us up and we
adored him! Never in mind or heart will
I condemn him! Never in mind or heart will
I condemn him! KREON>>I have heard the accusation King Oedipus makes against me, and I have come In haste, because I’m not a man
to endure such indignity! This outrage to my name
is no small matter. There is no more grievous
charge, none more heinous than this: to be damned by my own city, By you, and those closest to me,
as a traitor. LEADER>>He spoke in anger,
not from careful thought. KREON>>And said that I persuaded
the prophet to lie? LEADER>>Yes, but why,
I don’t know. KREON>>Did he look you
straight in the eye? Was his mind steady? LEADER: I can’t say. I don’t judge the deeds
of great men. But here he is now. OEDIPUS>>You,
Kreon! You have the gall
to come here! You! You who sought to steal
my throne, steal my power,
like a bandit! O, by the gods, Kreon,
To think me a fool, a coward, blind to your plot
against me? Did you think I had no eyes
To see your stealthy moves; that I would not Without one
moment’s pause take arms against them In my
own defense? What a fool you are, Kreon!
What a fool you are, KREON>>Finished? Then listen
to me, I have listened to you, And judge on the facts! OEDIPUS>>Ah, you have such a
way with words, Kreon! But how do I listen to a
known enemy? KREON>>First things first:
listen for a change! Tell me what this wrong is you
say that I have done you? OEDIPUS>>Did you or did you
not convince me to send for that pious fraud of a prophet? KREON>>I did, yes,
and I would do it again. OEDIPUS>>How long ago
was it that Laios KREON: That Laios what?
I don’t understand. OEDIPUS>>Vanished, struck down
in his tracks, murdered! KREON>>Years
many long years ago OEDIPUS:>>And you never hunted
the king’s killer? KREON: We did, but came away
with nothing. OEDIPUS: Why didn’t your
prophet accuse me then? KREON: When I don’t know,
I prefer to keep silent. OEDIPUS>>But this you’d tell,
if you were honest. KREON>>What would that be?
If I know, I’ll tell. OEDIPUS>>If you and he hadn’t
schemed together, He would never have said
I murdered Laios. KREON>>If this is what he
said then, who would know better than you? But now it is my turn to question. OEDIPUS>>Ask away.
But I’m not a murderer. KREON>>Very well.
Is my sister your wife? OEDIPUS>>Now there’s a fact
I can’t deny. KREON>>And you rule together,
equal in power? OEDIPUS>>Everything she wants,
she has. KREON>>And I’m the third?
We’re all of us equal? OEDIPUS>>And that is where you
are proven a traitorous friend! KREON>>Not if you see it as I do, rationally. Why would a man in his right
mind ever choose. The distressing cares of
kingship over untroubled sleep, Especially if he has equal
power and rank? As it is,I have
everything from you. My life is free. I live unburdened by the demands
Put upon kingship But if I were king, I should be
bound to act as a king must act: Against his will and pleasure.
Why give up comfort for worry? No sane mind is treasonous. Test me, why don’t you?
Go to the Pythia at Delphi. Ask the goddess if I reported
correctly. And if I didn’t, if I’m found to be in league
With the prophet, plotting treason, then have me executed! But not on your vote only;on
mine as well. LEADER>>Good advice for a
careful man. Hasty judgment is often dangerous. OEDIPUS>>Hasty conspiracy is
hastily met. If I delay, he wins, I lose. KREON>>What do you want?
Say it! Banishment? OEDIPUS>>Banishment? No! It is
your head I want! KREON>>You refuse to believe!
You refuse to yield! OEDIPUS>>You don’t persuade me
you’re worthy of belief! KREON>>Quite frankly,
I think you’ve lost your wits! OEDIPUS>>In my interest, yes! KREON>>And what about mine? OEDIPUS>>But you’re a traitor! KREON>>What if you’re wrong? OEDIPUS>>But I must rule! KREON>>When your rule is evil? OEDIPUS>>Think of the city! KREON>>It is my city, too! LEADER>>Please, my lords,
enough! Look, Iokaste, just in time!
Let her end this. IOKASTE>>What fool your’!What’s
all this quarreling in public! Aren’t you ashamed, stirring up
private matters When Thebes is sick to the death! Come inside, now.
And you, Kreon, go home. Why make something
out of nothing? KREON>>Nothing? Sister, your
husband plans one of two things: Either to have me exile or
to have my head! OEDIPUS>>It’s true! I caught
him plotting against me! KREON>>No, if I am guilty of
anything, I will die accursed and consider it a blessing! IOKASTE>>Oedipus, I beg of you,
believe him! In the god’s name,
respect his oath, Respect me, respect your people! LEADER>>I beg you, my king,
be guided, consent! OEDIPUS>>Concede? And if I do,
What? LEADER>>He was never a man to
be despised. He is strong in his oath
You should respect him. OEDIPUS>>Do you know what
you’re LEADER: I know. OEDIPUS>>Then tell me. LEADER>>A friend who binds
himself with a curse should never be charged
without proof. OEDIPUS>>In asking this you ask
my death or exile from Thebes. CHORUS>>No, by the god of
the Sun, by the god Apollo! Destroy me, if ever I thought
such a thought! The land is wracked, wasted,
a torture, a pain to my soul! Don’t add to my misery troubles
that spring from you two! OEDIPUS>>He’s free,
Free then! And if I must, Let me die
or end my life dishonored, Exiled far from Thebes! Your pitiful words move me,
not him! He’ll take my hatred with him
wherever he goes! KREON>>Ah, you yield as
fiercely as you rage! Natures like yours torment
themselves most. OEDIPUS>>Leave me!
Get out! KREON>>Yes, I’ll go. But you know nothing, nothing! OEDIPUS>>Our people save me! CHORUS>>why do you hesitate?
Lead him back to the palace. IOKASTE>>Yes, but tell me
first what happened. CHORUS>>Words were
spoken IOKASTE>>Words on both sides? CHORUS>> Yes. IOKASTE>>Tell me. CHORUS>>his land has
suffered enough. End it where they left it. OEDIPUS>> Here is where your
thoughts have led. You’re wise; and yet You
persuade me to blunt my anger. CHORUS>>Oedipus, king,
I have said not once, but many times, and say it again: Take the helm and lead us
once again from misfortune. IOKASTE>>Oedipus, my lord,
please, tell me, what is it? Whatever can have put you
in such a rage? OEDIPUS>>Yes, I’ll tell you,
Iokaste, because I trust you More than I trust those people. It is Kreon, Kreon who
raises plots against me! IOKASTE>>Then tell me how
it started, and be clear. OEDIPUS>>He tells me to my
face that I murdered Laios! That’s it! IOKASTE>>And how does he
know this? Does he have facts,
or is it hearsay? OEDIPUS>>Oh, no! He sends in
against me that damnable prophet! IOKASTE>>Let’s have no more of
this. Forget it now; Listen to me. No man born of
woman Has ever possessed the art of prophesy! And I can prove it by means of
an experience. Long ago an oracle came to
Laios,It said that he, Laios, would meet his death at the
hands of a son yet born to us His flesh and mine. And yet,
it is said, Laios Met his death at the hands of foreign bandits,
Where three roads meet. As for the son I bore,That poor
child,not three days had passed When Laios pierced his ankles,
bound them together, And had him thrown onto a trackless
mountain. so you see, it wasn’t Apollo.
Made the child kill his father, So much for prophets
and their prophecies! OEDIPUS>>Ah, Iokaste! Just now, as you spoke,
Some terrible, shadowy memory chilled my heart! IOKASTE>>Why do you say that? OEDIPUS>>I thought I heard you
say that Laios was killed At the place where three roads meet. IOKASTE: They said so then,
they say so still. OEDIPUS>>Where did this disaster happen? IOKASTE>>In Phokis. OEDIPUS>>When? How long ago? IOKASTE>>Shortly before you
arrived in Thebes. And were offered the throne. OEDIPUS>>Aiiiiiiiii! Ah, Zeus, what terrible design have you
plotted for me? IOKASTE>>What torments you so,
my lord? Tell me. OEDIPUS>>No, Tell me about
Laios first. what he looked like. How old he was, IOKASTE:>>Dark, his temples
beginning to gray, His figure- not unlike yours. OEDIPUS>>O god, without knowing,
I have cursed myself! IOKASTE>>You frighten me when
you say such things! OEDIPUS>>I fear the blind old
prophet sees! How did he travel Laios-at is light escort,Or many guards, as befits a king? IOKASTE>>Five in all-one was
a herald. Laios rode in a single wagon. OEDIPUS>>Aiiiiiiiiii It’s all so clear! So suddenly!
How do you know this? Who told you? IOKASTE>>A servant,
the only survivor. OEDIPUS>>And is this servant
still with us? IOKAST>>No. When he returned
and saw you in power, And Laios murdered, he knelt and touched my hand, And begged to be sent far
from the city, to the country Where shepherds
tend our flocks. He was a slave, but I thought that he had earned
this of me-and more. OEDIPUS>>Can he be brought
back quickly? IOKAST>>: Of course. Easily.
Why? OEDIPUS>>Dear Iokaste,
I’m afraid I may have saidt too much already.
I must see him. IOKASTE>>He’ll come.
But now, my dear, Haven’t I the right to know
what troubles you? OEDIPUS>>Every right, and
so you shall. My father was Polybos of Korinth; My mother, Merope, a Dorian. I was seen as the first among
men at home In Korinth, prince of the city, Then one night
during a banquet, A man who had drunk
more than his fill shouted that I was not my
father’s son. This hurt me,
Till one day,unknown to my parents,
I went alone to Delphi. But Apollo refused to hear;
he cheated me. Instead, he flung such detestable
horrors Such hideous filth, saying that I was doomed
To know my mother’s bed, to breed children that no man
could bear to look at, and to kill my father,
The father who gave me life! knowing this, I fled from Korinth, swearing Never again to return. All right, then, Iokaste,
here is the truth. one day, as I was walking I came to a place
Where three roads meet. Approaching me was a herald
driving a colt-drawn chariot with an old man,as youdescribe,
seated inside on a bench. The driver tried first
to force me off the road With brute strength and I struck him back in anger,
I struck him hard too and then, as I passed the wagon, The old man struck at my head
with a two-pronged goad! I hit him back,
hit him so hard With the staff in my hand that
he tumbled down backward And lay face-up in the road! I killed him then.
I killed them all. Ah, Iokaste, If this stranger has any tie
with Lai’os, What man is more miserable
than I, More hated by the gods?
these these hands have touched you,
you, his wife, Made love to you, the same
hands that murdered Laios, Bloodied hands, hands defiling his marriage. Am I not a seed of evil? Am I not the most unclean
of men! I who must be exiled
from Thebes, And in my exile never see
my parents again, If I was born the victim of
some savage god, Then who could deny the
evil of Divinity itself! LEADER>>Dreadful as this is,
my lord, Don’t lose hope; wait to hear the man
Who saw the murder. OEDIPUS>>Yes, my only hope:
waiting; Waiting with hope to hear
the shepherd! IOKASTE>>What do you hope
to hear when he arrives? OEDIPUS>>If his story and
yours agree, why, then,I will have escaped
disaster IOKASTE>>Why do you say that? OEDIPUS>>You said he used
the word ‘bandits’: Lai’os was killed by bandits. But if he says one man,
single-handed, The full weight of evidence
falls on me. IOKASTE>>Believe me, my dear,
it’s what he said. How can he go back on
his word now? The murder of Lai’os can
never be forced to fit the god’s prophecy. Apollo said quite plainly that
Lai’os would die at the hand of my son. And he, poor miserable creature,
died before Laios. So much for prophecy! I will never again turn
right or left in fear of prophecy or prophets! OEDIPUS>>Yes; but even so,
send for the shepherd. IOKASTE>>I’ll do it at once.
Come. Let’s go in. Chorus>>May destiny lead me,
Always in purity Of word and deed,
Laws of lofty heaven. Pride swollen with folly,
That claws to the summit, Then plunges to the abyss! I pray to the gods,
To protect the man Who wrestles for good!
That god is my protector, In him I place my faith. If a man can dare
To sneak with disdain Into vile deeds
Of hand or mouth. Fearless of justice,No, no,
no reverence For shrines, No reverence for shrines. Let retribution strike him down!
Punish his calamitous pride! If honor now accompanies
such deeds, Why should I bend to join
the sacred dance? I will never again visit
Delphi’s shrine, Unless prophesies prove true
for all to see. Zeus, deathless god,
prove your might! This blasphemy must
not escape you! Men’s minds have
turned aside. Where is the reverence
to Apollo now? Love and faith in gods
have died away. IOKASTE>>Receive my suppliant’s
prayers and offerings, And deliver us from pollution, For when we look at him,
at Oedipus, Our hearts quake with fear: we are like sailors Lost at sea when their helmsman loses control. KORINTHIAN>>Friends, excuse me,
could you help? I’m looking for. the king’s palace Oedipus it is I mean; Or even better, the king himself. LEADER>>In that case, you have
arrived, stranger. The king is inside; but here is
his wife, Mother of his children. KORINTHIAN>>I wish her well, And wish the same to her
household,for she is your queen. IOKAST>>: The same to you
for your courtesy, sir. But why have you come?
What’s your news? KORINTHIAN>>Good news for your
house and husband. IOKASTE>>Tell me, and tell me
who sent you. KORINTHIAN>>I come
from Korinth. As for the news,
it will give pleasure, But maybe some pain. IOKASTE>>Two-pronged news?
What could that be? KORINTHIAN>>The people of
Korinth are saying They want to make Oedipus
their king. IOKASTE>>But Polybos?
Has he lost his throne? KORINTHIAN>>Oh, that he has!
Death holds him in his grip! IOKASTE>>Dead? Dead?
The father of Oedipus? KORINTHIAN>>If I’m lying,
death take me, too! IOKASTE: Prophecies of the gods,
where are you now! Polybos, the man that
Oedipus fled Long ago in terror that he
would kill him! That same Polybos is now
destroyed by Chance, And not by him-
not by Oedipus! Listen to this man, Oedipus, Then tell me what’s become of
Apollo’s prophecies! OEDIPUS>>Where is he from?
What has he said? IOKASTE: Korinth, with news
of your father. News that Polybos is dead!
Your father is dead! OEDIPUS>>What is this, stranger?
Tell me yourself. KORINTHIAN>>He’s dead; dead
As dead can be, and that’s a fact. OEDIPUS>>He died of illness.
Ah, poor man! KORINTHIAN>>Yes, to be sure;
and the weight of his years. OEDIPUS>>Ah! Iokaste! To think we ever trembled
at Pytho’s oracles, But Polybos lies there, and with him he took deep into
Hades the worthless oracles! IOKASTE>>Haven’t I said
this all along? OEDIPUS>>Yes, but I was
crippled with fear. IOKASTE>>You needn’t think of
this ever again! OEDIPUS>>Not fear my mother?
My mother’s bed? IOKASTE>>Fear! Why should a
man fear? Why? When life is ruled by Chance?
There’s nothing sure. Nothing! Foresight is guesswork,
nothing more; Live however you choose! Why be afraid of marriage
With your mother! Many men have slept with
their mothers In dreams. Life should be easy.
Don’t trouble your mind. OEDIPUS>>Your words are
well taken, Iokaste, My mother still lives; and
I fear the living woman. KORINTHIAN>>Who is this woman,
this wife you fear? OEDIPUS>>Merope, old man,
the wife of Polybos. KORINTHIAN>>Merope? Hm!
What’s to fear there? OEDIPUS>>Long ago the
prophecy came That I would sleep
with my mother, And shed my father’s
blood with these hands. This is why I left Korinth long
ago,Avoiding it all these years. And Chance has been good. And yet there is no sweeter thing
in life Than to see the kindly faces
of one’s parents. KORINTHIAN>>And this is why
you fled the city? OEDIPUS>>To escape killing
my father, old man. KORINTHIAN>>Well, then, king,
Ill save you from that. After all, I’ve come in friendship To do you service. Your fears are groundless. OEDIPUS>>Groundless?
When I was born their son? KORINTHIAN>>Polybos was
no relation to you. OEDIPUS>>Polybos was not
my father? KORINTHIAN>>No more than me-
in that we’re equals. OEDIPUS>>You’re nothing to me. KORINTHIAN>>He no more
sired you than I did! OEDIPUS>>Then why did he
call me son? Why? KORINTHIAN>>He got you once
as a gift, from me. OEDIPUS>>And loved me
so dearly? From another’s hands? KORINTHIAN>>His life was childless; he turned to you. OEDIPUS>>You bought me?
Found me? What? Tell me. KORINTHIAN>>I found you on
the slopes of Kithairon. OEDIPUS>>Why were you there?
What took you to those-? KORINTHIAN>>Shepherding, tending my flocks in
the mountains. OEDIPUS>>A wandering shepherd.
You worked for hire? KORINTHIAN>>I was your savior
that day, child! OEDIPUS>>What did you save me
from-that day? KORINTHIAN>>Your ankles could
tell the tale of that. OEDIPUS>>Dear god! Why mention
that ancient anguish? KORINTHIAN>>When I freed your
feet, your ankles were pierced. OEDIPUS>> Yes, The shameful
mark I had from my cradle! KORINTHIAN>>The very thing
that gave you your name. ,OEDIPUS, OEDIPUS>>Who did this to me?
Mother? Father? KORINTHIAN>>Can’t say
the man who gave you knew more. OEDIPUS>>It wasn’t you who
found me? Who, then? KORINTHIAN>>Not me, child;
another shepherd. OEDIPUS>>Who? Do you know?
Describe him to me! KORINTHIAN>>One of Laios’ men,
I think. OEDIPUS>>The king who
ruled here long ago? KORINTHIAN>>Yes, he did
shepherding for him. OEDIPUS>>Is he alive?
I have to see him! KORINTHIAN>>It is these people
here would know that best. OEDIPUS>>Does anyone know
the shepherd that he means? LEADER>>He’s the shepherd
you asked to see. The Queen would know that best. OEDIPUS>>The man we have
sent for,lady, Is he the shepherd the old man
speaks of? IOKASTE>>The shepherd?
What? No- Forget him, don’t even ask!
His words mean nothing! OEDIPUS>>What? Give up?
on a clue like this? Not should light on the mystery
of my birth? IOKASTE>>For god’s love,
no, don’t do it, Don’t do it, Oedipus, if you care for your life!
Don’t, don’t! Give up the search!
My anguish is enough! OEDIPUS>>Come, come,
be brave, Iokaste! Even if I were born a
slave of slaves, your honor would never be tainted! IOKASTE>>Listen! Please!
Don’t do this thing! OEDIPUS>>No! I will know!
You will never persuade me! IOKASTE>>Oedipus, my thoughts
are always for you! OEDIPUS>>Your thoughts have
tormented me long enough! IOKASTE>>You’re doomed! You
must never know who you are! OEDIPUS>>Go, one of you, bring the shepherd! The queen will bask in her
honorable birth! IOKASTE>>Aiiiiiiiiii! Aiiiiiiiiii! You poor miserable man!
What more can I say? Nothing-nothing-
Ever-ever- LEADER>>Why has she
run off so, Oedipus, In such bitter pain? Something terrible
May burst from this silence. OEDIPUS>>Then let it burst!
Let it come! However base my birth, I’m bound
to see it, face-to-face! I,I am the child of Chance,
giver of good, I cannot be dishonored!
Chance is my mother, The passing months my brothers, and they have seen me
Small and great in time! I will never be other than I am And fail to seek out the truth
of my birth! Chorus>>If I have prophetic
power, skillful and sound. Then by the skies of Olympus, Rejoice! Rejoice! For we will celebrate
God’s gentle birth. Let rejoicing give
you pleasure! Rejoice! Rejoice! God of the Happy feast,
God Dionysus. Frenzied god of the peaks,
Was it he who received you? Rejoice! Rejoice! OEDIPUS>>Although I have never
met the man coming toward us, My guess would be that he is
the one we sent for. His age and this old
man’s agree, LEADER>>Yes, I know him.
Laios’ man. The best servant a man
could have. OEDIPUS>>Let me ask you first,
Korinthian. Is this the man you spoke of? KORINTHIAN>>The same. OEDIPUS>>You, old man,
come here! No, look at me! There.
Answer me. Were you once a servant
of Laios? SHEPHERD>>Yes, but born in the palace,
not bought. OEDIPUS>>And what kind
of work did you do? SHEPHERD>>Most of my life,
tending sheep. OEDIPUS>>And where did you
pasture your herd? SHEPHERD>>Kithairon,
or the hills near by. OEDIPUS>>Did you ever meet
this man out there? SHEPHERD>>What was his job?
What man is that? OEDIPUS>>That man there.
Have you ever met him? SHEPHERD>>Me? Him?
Not that I can- KORINTHIAN>>No surprise there,
my lord; But let me goad his memory a bit
And he’ll remember. you’ll remember Kithairon
And his two herds, and me with only one. We spent six months together
in the hills, Three whole seasons, spring to autumn,he’d take his
herds back to Lai’os’ fold, And I, mine, back to Korinth.
Isn’t that so? SHEPHERD>>True-ah-
but such a long time- KORINTHIAN>>Right enough!
And you gave me a child- A boy child to raise as my own. SHEPHERD>>And if I did?
Why are you asking this? KORINTHIAN>>That child is
this man here. SHEPHERD>>Damn you!
Can’t you hold your tongue! OEDIPUS>>Stop this, old man!
Do you hear me? It is you deserve
to be struck, not him! SHEPHERD>>Noble master,
what have I done? OEDIPUS>>You refuse
to answer about the boy! SHEPHERD>>He knows nothing!
He’s wasting words! OEDIPUS>>You will answer
willingly or else by force! SHEPHERD>>Ah! But why?
What do you want? OEDIPUS>>The child-
did you give it to him? SHEPHERD>>I did-
I wish I had died that day! OEDIPUS>>You will,
if you don’t tell the truth! SHEPHERD>>No, no! Please!
I gave the child! OEDIPUS>>Where did you find it?
Yours? Another’s? SHEPHERD>>No, not mine-
given to me. OEDIPUS>>A citizens child?
From which house? SHEPHERD>>Master, no more
questions, I beg you! OEDIPUS>>You’re a dead man
if I ask again! SHEPHERD>>The child was from
the house of Lai’os. OEDIPUS>>Slave-born
or one of his own? SHEPHERD>>I’m on the
verge of dreadful speech! OEDIPUS>>And I of dreadful
hearing! Say it! SHEPHERD>>The child was
Laios’ child. Your wife knows best
how it happened. OEDIPUS>>She gave it to you? SHEPHERD>>My lord, she did. OEDIPUS>>Why? Her reason? SHEPHERD>>To-to kill it. OEDIPUS>>No! SHEPHERD>>There were prophecies. OEDIPUS>>What? SHEPHERD>>That he would
kill his parents. OEDIPUS>>Then Why did
you give him to this old man? SHEPHERD>>Pity for it,
my lord! Pity! I thought he would take
him away, Far away to some other place,
His own country! But what a fate
he saved him for! Ah, if you are the man he says, You are the most
miserable of men! OEDIPUS>>It is all come true!
All the prophecies! All! In a burst of radiance! O light- o light of day-
Let me see you this last time! I! Oedipus!
Damned! Damned in my birth!
Damned in my marriage! Damned in the blood
I shed with my own hand! Chorus>>O, generations of men.
How fragile, How frail your lives. Is there a man who grasps at
happiness? But to see it sink, Dream,Illusion. I take as my model,
you, Oedipus. Most wretched of men, And see
that no man is blessed! Noble Oedipus,
Man of wisdom and grace, But now of men living Whose
future ever has changed. To say it justly,
You once restored me to life. It is you who now close my eyes,
My eyes, In death. But all-seeing Time has
found you out, Unaware,
And sits in judgement! A monstrous marriage,
That is no marriage. Where father and son,
Begetter, begotten, as one! Noble Oedipus,
Man of wisdom and grace, But now of men living
Whose fortune ever has changed. To say it justly,
You once restored me to life. It is you now who close my eyes,
My eyes, In death. MESSENGER>>Elders,
most honored people of Thebes, If you are still true to your
birth and revere The royal house of Labdakos, prepare to hear and see such
horrors whose weight will pull you down
With grief! Horrors willed, not unwilled! Our greatest griefs are those
we bring on ourselves. LEADER>>Haven’t
we enough of grief, Enough of pain?
What more can you add? MESSENGER>>Our royal lady
the queen is dead. LEADER>>Oh, unhappy lady!
How? MESSENGER>>She killed herself. How fortunate you are
you didn’t see it, That dreadful sight; but I saw,
and I will tell you Having left us, she passed
through the palace gates And rushed in a frenzy of
passion straight to her rooms, I can’t say for certain just
how she died, For at that moment
Oedipus burst in a rage Calling for the double
mother-whore Who had reaped two crops,
him and his children! There we saw her-hanging, Swaying in a mass of
twisted cords; And seeing this, a roar rose
from his breast That broke our hearts;
and then he slipped the noose From around her neck and in
his arms lowered Her body to the floor; and when,
poor woman, She lay on the ground,
so terrible a scene was played, I wish I didn’t remember! He tore the two gold pins
that fastened her dress, And seeing her there,
raised high the pins, One in each hand, and plunged
them deep into his eyes, Crying that they would
never again see The misery of his fate,
the horrors of his deeds, And as his chanting soared,
his hands brought down Grief after grief on his eyes, strike upon strike, Opening
wide his lids to welcome more, Till his whole face streamed
not with drops, But with dark currents of gore
that pulsed from his eyes. LEADER>>Is there any rest
for him now? MESSENGER>>He’s shouting to
open the gates so all of Thebes Can see him as he is,
his father’s murderer, His mother’s-no, I cant, I
can’t say it, The unholy word! But look! Now you will see
asight to make his enemies weep. CHORUS>>Terrible sight!
Dreadful, horrible, most horrible! Oedipus! What unknown
guide possessed you? madness sent from god, more
terrible than mind can know, leapt upon you? leapt!
Pitiful man, most miserable, how can I look at you? And yet,
there are so many questions, somany, so much to know,
so much. OEDIPUS>> I am a man of misery!
Where have you brought me, god? I stumble in darkness! My voice
wings away into nothingness! CHORUS>>Terrible to say
or see! OEDIPUS>> Dark cloud!
Dark cloud! Cloud of night! Unreasoning cloud
enshrouding me, always with me, always,
Unspeakable! Invincible! Again! Again! The pain! CHORUS>>Your pain, sir,
your pain, I understand! OEDIPUS>>Still there,
old friends, still there with the blind man! Only you to protect me! Your voice I know so clear, so clear! I feel its comfort,
though I am dark! CHORUS>>What deed have
you done, lord, what deed, Oedipus, have
you done, to make your eyes wither? What divinity, what dark divinity raised your hands to strike? OEDIPUS>> I, only I, I only, with my own two hands raised the double pins to fall, to plunge in my eyes! How could I see, how could I bear to see,
when everywhere was horror? CHORUS>>Horror. Yes.
Too true. OEDIPUS>> Take me away,
friends, far away, A man destroyed! Utterly!
Most cursed of men, most loathed of the gods! CHORUS>>Wretched in knowledge,
wretched in fortune; my friend, I wish I had never
known you! OEDIPUS>> I wish I had died,
died that day, died never to have
dragged myself and all my loved ones down, down into misery! CHORUS>>I, too, Oedipus,
would have wished the same. OEDIPUS>>Then never, never, never would I have been
my father’s murderer! Never beknown to Thebes as
my mother’s husband! A son of shame, polluter of my
mother in my father’s bed that birthed me in misery! Tell me, What evil is greater than the
evil that lighted on Oedipus? LEADER>>How can I say that you
were well counseled? Better to be dead than blind
and living. OEDIPUS>>No more counsel!
No more! The punishment
I laid on myself was just it could not be better! By all the gods,
take me away from Thebes, Far away,
hide me, kill me, throw me Into the deep where
you will never see me again. LEADER>>Kreon is your
successor in Thebes; He is the one to advise
And act on your request. He’s here. OEDIPUS>>Ah! How can I
speak to him now? By what right? How could he ever trust me? I have Wronged him so deeply;
I see that now. KREON>>I’m not here to mock
you, Oedipus, Or to condemn whatever
wrong you have done. OEDIPUS>>Drive me away Kreon! Far away, where no human voice
Will ever reach me! Cast me out now! KREON>>Still playing the king?
Don’t presume! What you achieved in life
is over. Your power is dead. [Applause]

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