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As a reward Oedipus received the great kingdom of Thebes and the hand of the widowed queen Jocasta in marriage. Four children were born to them two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, and two daughters, Antigone and Ismené. Now the gods had decreed that Oedipus should murder his own father and marry his own mother, and by a curious chance this was precisely what he had done.

They regarded such unhappy beings as Orestes and OEdipus, as being less the voluntary perpetrators of their crimes than as the passive instruments by which the terrible decrees of Destiny had been accomplished; and the fear with which they beheld them was not unmingled with veneration.

His father's curse strikes them with dread; Oedipus himself was born of a father Laius who, though warned thrice by Apollo that if he died without issue he would save his land, listened to the counsels of friends and in imprudence begat his own destroyer.

So have I heard the Oedipus Tyrannus, and the Prometheus, as I never have heard them before. At such times, it is beautiful to see the group of listeners gathering nearer and nearer, as the philosopher reads or recites, and catching every word and accent of that divine tongue, as it falls from his lips.

Notwithstanding the severe conclusion of the first Oedipus we are so far reconciled to it by the violence, suspicion, and haughtiness in the character of Oedipus, that our feelings do not absolutely revolt at so horrible a fate.

Such a presumption could be created in his soul only by a great magnanimity; and the evidence of this on his pages sheds a beauty about all his words. But he is not an Oedipus. He has guessed; and the riddle awaits another comer.

If the irrational cannot be excluded, it should be outside the scope of the tragedy. Such is the irrational element in the Oedipus of Sophocles. Again, since Tragedy is an imitation of persons who are above the common level, the example of good portrait-painters should be followed.

Not all Greek tragedies were tragedies of fate, indeed it was a saying of Schiller that the 'King Oedipus' constitutes a genus by itself nor is there any definite unitary conception which can be described as 'modern' for the purpose of a contrast. After all, that which affects us in tragedy is very much the same as that which affected the Greeks, namely, the sense of life's overruling mystery.

The Prometheus ranks as at once the greatest and the most thoroughly characteristic work of Shelley. Oedipus Tyrannus, or Swellfoot the Tyrant. A Satirical Drama on the Trial of Queen Caroline. Epipsychidion. A poem of ideal love under a human personation. " Adonais. Hellas. A Drama on the Grecian War of Liberation. Posthumous Poems.

Shakespeare affords some magnificent examples, likewise Balzac, likewise George Eliot, likewise Tourgueneff; the "Oedipus" is, of course, the crowning and final achievement in the music of sequence and the massy harmonies of fate.

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