How far is the mystery of Oedipus’s life unravelled by the information of the Corinthian messenger?
Ans. The messenger from Corinth first meets the queen, Jocasta, and tells her that he has brought a news from Corinth which may both please and grieve her. The news is that King Polybus of Corinth is dead, and the people of Corinth want to make Oedipus. king of all the isthmus of Corinth. Jocasta is happy to have the news, because she now sees that the prophecy of the Delphiañ oracle is falsified; Oedipus does not kill his father as the prophecy said he would, but his lather dies a natural death. She immediately sends an attendant to call Oedipus out of the palace. Oedipus comes out, and the messenger says that Polybus died a natural death — death due to old age. Oedipus also grows passionate over the news because there is no possibility now of his killing his own father. Out of strong feelings of relief from a great burden of the possibility of the realisation of the prophecy, he cries out, “Well, well … so, wife, what of the Pythian fire/The oracles, the prophesying birds,,That scream above us? I was to kill my father;INow he lies in his grave, and here am I/Who never touched a weapon … unless it could be said/Grief at my absence killed him — and so I killed him./But no, the better of the oracle/Is unfulfilled and lies, like Polybus, dead.” Jocasta also joins his rejoicing and tells him to think no more of it. But Oedipus now seems to suddenly remember the other half of the prophecy that he will marry his own mother, and he is afraid of it. But Jocastá gives her philosophy of life, “Chance rules our lives, and the future is all unknown./ Best live as best we may, from day to day,” and advises Oedipus to shake off his fear of “mother-marrying” as a mere stuff of dream. But Oedipus’s fear persists.