How Did Oedipus End Up Marrying His Mother?


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The Theban king Laius and his wife Jocasta were horrified when a prophecy was made that their new-born son would kill his father and marry his mother. So they left the baby to die on a hillside with his ankles pinned together. However, a shepherd rescued him and he was adopted by the childless king of Corinth, becoming known as Oedipus or "Swellfoot" because of the lameness caused by the ankle-pins. Years later, as a young man Oedipus met Laius on the road (of course, neither knew who the other was.) They quarrelled over the right of way, and Oedipus killed Laius. He later married Jocasta, Queen of Thebes, they had four children and lived happily until the truth about Oedipus' parentage was revealed. Jocasta hanged herself, Oedipus blinded himself and went into exile with his daughter Antigone. He was eventually buried near Athens, where his bones were regarded as a talisman against possible attack by the Thebans.

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