Oedipus, King of Thebes and his tragedy: His tragic fate and family relationships

The story of Oedipus, far from being a mere mythological anecdote, is a cornerstone of ancient Greek culture, whose echoes still resonate in our modern societies. In this article, we explore the rise and fall of the King of Thebes, weaving through the threads of his destiny and his complex family ties.

Mythological and historical context

The city of Thebes, with its rich and tumultuous past, forms the backdrop to our tragedy. A cultural and political epicenter, this city is the place where myth and reality intertwine. The stories of Oedipus reach us at mainly through Greek tragedies, notably Sophocles' "Oedipus the King". Historical elements, such as theories on family complexes, have also fuelled the myth and its interpretation over the course of time.

Oedipus' life and the prophecy

  • Oedipus' birth: Conceived under a bad star, Oedipus is born with an ominous prophecy weighing on his shoulders.
  • His abandonment and resilience**: Rejected by his biological parents, he is saved by the mercy of strangers and grows up far from his native land.
  • His elevation to Thebes**: Destined for greatness in spite of himself, Oedipus becomes the savior of Thebes by deciphering the enigmatic riddle of the Sphinx.
  • The beginning of his reign** : The riddle solved, he accedes to the throne, unaware that each step brings him closer to the inevitable fulfillment of the prophecy.

Oedipus' tragic destiny

The truth that everyone feared finally bursts out, plunging Oedipus into unimaginable chaos. Psychoanalysis would later take up his story, studying the complex that now bears his name. Resulting from the truth revealed, his departure from Thebes and the impact on his descendants are imbued with suffering and lessons to be learned.

Family relationships and their impact

Oedipus is the embodiment of the complexity of blood ties. His relationships with his biological and adoptive parents, his wife and at the same time his mother, as well as his children, illustrate the breadth of human drama, where love and hatred compete for the stage.

Oedipus in culture and literature

  • From theater to philosophy: Oedipus has inspired numerous tragic creations, becoming a pillar of reflection on human destiny.
  • Modern adaptations: From cinema to contemporary literature, Oedipus' story has been revisited in many different ways.
  • Artistic symbolism: Oedipus, a key figure in art, continues to appeal through its rich symbolism.


The tragic fate of Oedipus remains one of the most powerful and influential stories in Greek mythology, having profoundly influenced literature, psychoanalysis, and beyond, our collective culture. The cultural legacy of Oedipus invites us to contemplate the complexity of our own nature and the universal themes that form the fabric of human existence.