A monologue from the play by Sophocles

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Greek Dramas. Ed. Bernadotte Perrin. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1904.
  • OEDIPUS: I care not for thy counsel or thy praise;
    For with what eyes could I have e'er beheld
    My honoured father in the shades below,
    Or my unhappy mother, both destroyed
    By me? This punishment is worse than death,
    And so it should be. Sweet had been the sight
    Of my dear children--them I could have wished
    To gaze upon; but I must never see
    Or them, or this fair city, or the palace
    Where I was born. Deprived of every bliss
    By my own lips, which doomed to banishment
    The murderer of Laius, and expelled
    The impious wretch, by gods and men accursed:
    Could I behold them after this? Oh no!
    Would I could now with equal ease remove
    My hearing too, be deaf as well as blind,
    And from another entrance shut out woe!
    To want our senses, in the hour of ill,
    Is comfort to the wretched. O Cithaeron!
    Why didst thou e'er receive me, or received,
    Why not destroy, that men might never know
    Who gave me birth? O Polybus! O Corinth!
    And thou, long time believed my father's palace,
    Oh! what a foul disgrace to human nature
    Didst thou receive beneath a prince's form!
    Impious myself, and from an impious race.
    Where is my splendour now? O Daulian path!
    The shady forest, and the narrow pass
    Where three ways meet, who drank a father's blood
    Shed by these hands, do you not still remember
    The horrid deed, and what, when here I came,
    Followed more dreadful? Fatal nuptials, you
    Produced me, you returned me to the womb
    That bare me; thence relations horrible
    Of fathers, sons, and brothers came; of wives,
    Sisters, and mothers, sad alliance! all
    That man holds impious and detestable.
    But what in act is vile the modest tongue
    Should never name. Bury me, hide me, friends,
    From every eye; destroy me, cast me forth
    To the wide ocean--let me perish there:
    Do anything to shake off hated life.
    Seize me; approach, my friends--you need not fear,
    Polluted though I am, to touch me; none
    Shall suffer for my crimes but I alone.