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The Oedipus Trilogy


Summary and Analysis: <i>Oedipus at Colonus</i> Lines 762-817


The chorus sings a lyrical ode praising the natural beauties of the Athenian countryside.


Theseus' conferral of citizenship upon Oedipus inspires the elders' celebratory ode to the glories of Athens and its surrounding lands.

Sophocles offers this evocation of natural beauty at a time when Athens was brought low by war, and so the description is of an idyllic place, still fresh from creation. The poetic emphasis is on the divinity that enlivens the landscape. Horses, for instance, represent the power of Poseidon, and olives, the sheltering genius of Athena.

Note, too, that the ode pays particular attention to the narcissus, a flower associated with Demeter and Persephone, who went down among the dead and returned to life. The narcissus is also associated with the Eleusian Mysteries, a ritual of death and rebirth. Again, the reference looks forward to Oedipus' approaching death and his transformation into a spirit with a god's power.


Mount of Ares a hill in Athens, the site of the first court of law.