Oedipus at Colonus Metaphors and Similes

Oedipus at Colonus Metaphors and Similes

Oedipus the Wretched

The relationship between the Chorus and Oedipus is particularly close in this installment of the trilogy. At one point, the Chorus links their own problems and failings directly to Oedipus with the reference “In which this wretch, not I alone” must deal equally with the vagaries of fate and the unforeseen troubles lying in wait through the journey that is life. Oedipus is in this connection situated as a metaphor for the Chorus and, by extension, everyone.

The Grove of the Furies

The grove of trees considered sacred to the Furies is a place where the elderly Oedipus finds peace. That he take solace among the sacred grove of the avenging spirits suggests a metaphorical transformation of that grove as a place where redemption can finally be found and in which the Furies no longer have power over his him.


The daughter of Oedipus displays a remarkably deep sense of loyalty and love for her father that goes well beyond any expectation of the norm. In suffering alongside him even though she certainly does not have to, Antigone attains the level of metaphor: she becomes one of the most solid symbols of familial loyalty in all of literature and one by which all others who follow must inevitably be judged.


Blindness and sight have been metaphors throughout the cycle of Oedipus plays, even before he puts his own eyes. By the time he is ready to finally call it a day, Oedipus has finally gained the wisdom that he assumed he had as a result of having actual vision. It has taken much struggle and suffering for him to finally see the light and the metaphorical imagery of blindness finally reaches its climax at Colonus.

Metaphorical Baptism

In a sense, the entire narrative can be interpreted metaphorically as the culmination of the trilogy. Oedipus has been leading to this appointment at Colonus whereby he will undergo a sort of ritualistic cleansing not unlike the Christian rite of baptism and with redemption will also arrive a new sense of self for himself. He will achieve a new identity for himself in the eyes of the people.

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