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There are debates over the exact timeline of when Oedipus killed his father. The murder is never recounted in real-time in the play though. It is only mentioned by various characters as Oedipus investigates the king's murderer. As the play progresses, two stories emerge Oedipus' own account of killing a man on the way to Thebes before meeting the Sphinx and the shepherd's account of telling the City about the king's death. Which version of the murder is more accurate is never clear.

Sophocles wrote the trilogy out of order to make things more difficult. Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus were the first three plays written. The sequence of events has been reversed. The plays unfold sequentially through Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone.

Oedipus's story begins long before the plays were written. Oedipus's father, Laius, brought tragedy upon his own family and home. From the time he was a child, the gods shaped his life. Even though not all of the myth's events are told in the plays, Sophocles was sure to be aware of it when he wrote and cast Laius as both the bad guy and the victim.

From the beginning, Laius was doomed. He had already earned the wrath of the gods because he had violated the strict rules of Greek hospitality. He tried to avoid being punished rather than confessing his sins after a prophecy predicted that he would be punished. Oedipus was given to Jocasta and Laius instructed her to kill him after he bound his feet with a pin and gave him to her. Jocasta gave her son to a shepherd because she couldn't kill her own son. The infant was given to an adolescent king and queen by the shepherd out of compassion. Oedipus was adopted and raised by the Corinthian king and queen as their own. When Oedipus first heard the prophecy, he was just a young man. He believed that if he remained in Corinth, his beloved adoptive parents would be in danger. He left Corinth and set out for Thebes. Ironically, like Laius, Oedipus wished to thwart the fulfillment of the prophecy. Oedipus, in contrast to Laius, was attempting to safeguard the people he believed to be his parents. Sadly, Oedipus inherited pride, his father's only real flaw.

To evade the gods' will, he sets out for Thebes. Oedipus sets out to distance himself from the prophecy and prevent it from coming true, believing that he is the son of the king of Corinth, Polybus, and Merope, his wife.

Where was his father killed by Oedipus? 

Oedipus is told to stand aside when he meets a small group on the way to Thebes. He is confronted by the guards after refusing out of nothing more than obstinate pride. The man he challenges is, unbeknownst to him, his own biological father, Laius. Oedipus continues his journey toward Thebes after killing the man and the guards who were traveling with him. Oedipus accidentally fulfills the first part by killing his father to thwart the prophecy. 

Even the fact that the man he killed was his own biological father is unknown to him. He doesn't start thinking about what happened until it's too late. Without giving the slain men another thought, he continues on toward Thebes. The prophecy does not become apparent to Thebes until he is besieged by plagues that kill both children and livestock. Oedipus's crimes of killing his father and marrying his mother have brought sorrow to Thebes in a cruel twist of fate. The plague cannot be eradicated until those responsible for Laius's death are found. Oedipus has carried his father's curse with him.

How was his father killed by Oedipus? 

In the text, how the murder is carried out in its entirety is never mentioned. The murder is mentioned at various points in the play, but there are at least two versions of the scene that are told, and it's never completely clear which one is true. Rather than Oedipus killing his father, as was commonly believed, were "robbers" responsible for Laius's death. The point is that Sophocles appears to have intentionally left his writing hazy. The fulfillment of Oedipus' prophecy that he would kill his father is never entirely certain. Circumstantial evidence—the parallels between Oedipus's story and that of the shepherd—is what establishes his guilt.

The tragedy of Oedipus' father's murder is a constant theme in Thebes' royal family. Oedipus didn't realize he had killed his father until it was too late. He had already fulfilled the second and more horrifying part of the prophecy by the time the murder was revealed, the first part of the prophecy he had tried to avoid. He had children with his own mother, whom he had married. From the beginning, Oedipus was doomed. He bedded his mother, a crime against nature in and of itself, even if he hadn't killed his own father. 


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