Character List


Oedipus the King

Oedipus King of Thebes. As a young man, he saved the city of Thebes by solving the riddle of the Sphinx and destroying the monster. He now sets about finding the murderer of the former king Laius to save Thebes from plague.

Creon The second-in-command in Thebes, brother-in-law of Oedipus. He is Oedipus' trusted advisor, selected to go to the oracle at Delphi to seek the Apollo's advice in saving the city from plague.

Tiresias A blind prophet who has guided the kings of Thebes with his advice and counsel.

Jocasta Queen of Thebes, wife of Oedipus. She was the widow of Thebes' former king, Laius, and married Oedipus when he saved the city from the Sphinx.

A Messenger from Corinth A man bringing news of the royal family to Oedipus.

A Shepherd A herder from the nearby mountains, who once served in the house of Laius.

A Messenger A man who comes from the palace to announce the death of the queen and the blinding of Oedipus.

Antigone and Ismene Oedipus' young daughters.

Chorus A group of Theban elders, and their Leader, who comment on the events of the drama and react to its tragic progression.

Oedipus at Colonus

Oedipus Former king of Thebes, now a blind beggar who wanders from place to place. Considered a pariah because of his sins, Oedipus suffers abuse and rejection everywhere he goes.

Antigone Daughter of Oedipus. She leads her blind father on his travels and serves his needs.

A Citizen of Colonus A passer-by who notices Oedipus and Antigone trespassing on sacred ground.

Ismene Daughter of Oedipus, sister of Antigone. She lives in Thebes and brings her father and sister news while they stay in Colonus.

Theseus King of Athens. He acts as Oedipus' ally by protecting him in Colonus and witnesses his death.

Creon King of Thebes, brother-in-law of Oedipus. Responsible for Oedipus' exile, Creon is now interested in returning the former king to Thebes to avoid a curse.

Polynices Son of Oedipus, brother of Antigone and Ismene. Driven out of Thebes after a power struggle with his brother Eteocles and Creon, he is an exile like his father, and plans to take Thebes by force.

A Messenger A man who tells the elders of the city of Oedipus' death.

Chorus A group of elders of Colonus who confront Oedipus and comment on the unfolding events in the play.


Antigone Daughter of Oedipus. She defies a civil law forbidding the burial of Polynices, her brother, in order to uphold the divine law requiring that the dead be put to rest with proper rituals.

Ismene Sister of Antigone, daughter of Oedipus. She timidly refuses to join her sister in disobeying the civil law, but later wants to join her in death.

Creon King of Thebes, brother-in-law of Oedipus, uncle of Polynices, Antigone, and Ismene. His strict order to leave Polynices' body unburied and his refusal to admit the possibility that he is wrong bring about the events of the tragedy.

Haemon Son of Creon, promised in marriage to Antigone. He argues calmly for Antigone's release, but meets with angry rejection.

A Sentry Who brings news of the attempted burial of Polynices.

Tiresias The blind prophet who advised Laius and Oedipus, before Creon. His auguries show that the gods are angered by Creon's decision to leave Polynices unburied.

Eurydice Queen of Thebes, wife of Creon. On hearing of the death of her son, she kills herself.

A Messenger A man who tells of the deaths of Antigone, Haemon, and Eurydice.

Chorus The elders of Thebes and their Leader. They listen loyally to Creon and rebuke Antigone, but advise the king to change his mind when Tiresias warns of the gods' punishment.