Colon – a place to the north of Athens. There was a sacred grove of goddesses Evmenid, terrible guardians of the truth – those about which Aeschylus wrote in “Oresteia”. Among this grove stood an altar in honor of the hero Oedipus: it was believed that this Theban hero is buried here and protects this land. How was the ashes of the Theban hero in Athenian land – this was told differently. One of these stories also wrote the tragedy of Sophocles. He was originally from Kolon, and this tragedy was his last life.
From the incestuous marriage with his mother, Oedipus had two sons and two daughters: Eteocles and Polynicus, Antigoneus and Ismena. When Oedipus blinded himself for his sins and left power, both sons recoiled from him. Then he left Thebes and went to wander unknown where. Together with him the faithful daughter of Antigone left – a guide with a decrepit blind man. Blinded, he received his soul: he realized that he had redeemed his involuntary
guilt with voluntary self-punishment, that his gods had forgiven him and that he would not die as a sinner, but as a saint. This means that on his grave they will make sacrifices and libations, and his ashes will be the protection of the land where he will be buried.
Blind Oedipus and tired Antigone come on stage and sit down to rest. “Where are we?” asks Oedipus. “This is a grove of laurels and olives, here vines grow and nightingales sing, and in the distance – Athens,” – answers Antigone. A guard comes to meet them:
“Away from here, this place is forbidden to mortals, here live the Evmenids, the daughters of the Night and the Earth.” “Happiness, here in the shadow of Evmenid, the gods promised me a blessed death.” Go, tell the Athenian king: “Let him come here, let him give me a little, but he will get much,” Oedipus asks. “From you, the blind beggar?” – the watchman is surprised. “I am blind, but I see the mind.” The watchman leaves, and Oedipus begs to the Eumenides and all the gods: “Fulfill
the promise, send me the long-awaited death.”
A choir of columnists appears: they are also angry at first, seeing the stranger on the holy land, but his pathetic appearance begins to inspire them with sympathy. “Who are you?” “Oedipus,” he mutters. “Parricide, incest, away!” – “My sin is terrible, but not willing, do not drive me – the gods are just and you will not punish me for my guilt.” Let me wait for your king. “
But instead of the king appears another tired woman from the far side – Ismena, the second daughter of Oedipus. She has bad news. In Thebes quarrels, Eteocles was banished by Polynic, who collects the Seven against the Thebes; the gods predicted: “If Oedipus will not be buried in a foreign land – Thebes will stand.” And now an embassy has already been sent for Oedipus. “No,” Oedipus cried, “they denied me, they banished me, so now they will destroy each other!” And I want to die here, in Athenian land, for her good, for her enemies for fear. ” The choir is touched. “Then make a cleansing, make a libation with water and honey, propitiate Evmenid – only they can forgive or not forgive the killing of a relative.” Izmena prepares the rite, Oedipus in a roll call with the choir mourns his sin.
But here is the Athenian king: these Theseus, the famous hero and wise ruler. “What are you asking for, old man? I’m ready to help you – we are all equal under the eyes of the gods, today you are in trouble, and tomorrow I am.” “Bury me here, do not let me lead the Thebes, and my dust will be your protection by the land.” “This is my word for you.” Theseus leaves to dispose of, and the choir sings praises to Athens, the Colon and the gods, their patrons:
Athena the mistress, Poseidon the horse, Demeter the farmer, Dionysus the viniculturist.
“Do not deceive,” Antigonus says, “the Theban ambassador with the soldiers is already coming.” This is Creon, Oedipus’ progenitor, the second man in Thebes at Oedipus, and now with Eteocles. “Forgive our guilt and pity our country: it is your own, but this one is good, but not yours.” But Oedipus is firm: “It is not by friendship that you came, but by necessity, I do not need to go with you.” “There will be need,” Creon threatens, “Hey, grab his daughters: they are our Theban subjects, and you, old man, decide whether you will go with me or stay here, without help, without a guide!” The choir murmurs, the girls weep, Oedipus curses Creon: “How do you leave me alone, and you’ll be left alone in the declining years!” This curse will come true in the tragedy of Antigone.
Theseus hastens to these. “The offender of my guest is an insult to me, do not disgrace your city – let the girls go and go away.” “For whom do you intercede?” Argues Creon, “for a sinner, for a criminal?” “My sin is involuntary,” Oedipus replies with tears, “and you, Creon, sin by your own will, attacking the weak and weak!” Theseus is hard, the girls are saved, the choir glorifies the Athenian prowess.
But the tests of Oedipus are not over. As he was asked to help the Theban Creon, so now the son of Polynik came to him for help. He was insolent, this one is touching. He cries for his misfortune and Oedipal trouble – let the unfortunate understand the unfortunate! He asks for forgiveness, promises Oedipus if not the throne, then the palace, but Oedipus does not listen to him. “You and my brother have ruined me, and your sisters have saved me!” Be they honor and death to you: Do not take Thebes to you, kill you brother’s brother, and let the curse of Evmenid-Erinny be on you. ” Antigone loves his brother, she pleads with him to dissolve the army, not to destroy his homeland. “Neither I nor my brother will not yield,” answers Polynik, “I see death and go to death, and you, sisters, the gods keep.” The chorus sings: “Life is short, death is irreversible, there are more griefs in life than joys.” The best part is not to be born at all; share a second – rather die. Labor oppresses, troubles destroy; and old age amid anguish – like an island in the midst of waves. “
The end is coming. Thunder rumbles, lightning flashes, the choir calls to Zeus, Oedipus calls Theseus. “My last hour has come: now I will enter alone with you into the sacred grove, I will find the cherished place, and there my dust will rest. Neither my daughters nor your citizens will know it, only you and your heirs will keep this secret, and as long as she is kept, Oedipus will be the coffin protecting Athens from Thebes. Behind me, Hermes leads me, who brings down the soul to the underworld. ” The choir, kneeling down, prays to the underground gods: “Give Oedipus peacefully to descend into your kingdom: he deserved it with torment.”
And the gods heard: the messenger informs of the wonderful end of Oedipus, He walked like a sighted man, he went to the place of the lesson, washed himself, dressed in white, said goodbye to Antigoneo and Ismenia, and there came an unknown voice:
“Go, Oedipus, do not delay!” The hair moved at the companions, they turned and walked away. When they turned, Oedipus and Theseus stood side by side; when they looked back, there was Theseus alone, shielding his eyes, as if from unbearable light. Lightning whether ascended Oedipus, whether a whirlwind cleared him, whether the earth took to his bosom – no one knows. The sisters come back for the messenger, weeping for his father, for his sisters – Theseus; the sisters go to their native Thebes, and Theseus chant the Oedipus covenant and his blessing with chorus: “May it be unbreakable!”.