Oedipus at Colonus Quotes


"Many other men have rebellious children, quick tempers too...but they listen to reason, they relent."


When Oedipus hears that one of his sons came to see him, he is reluctant to agree to meet with him. The reason that Oedipus does not want to meet with Polynices is because he is sure that just like his brother, Polynices will only want to force him to go back with him. The one who convinces Oedipus that he must meet his son is Antigone, Oedipus’s daughter. Antigone tells her father that every father is disappointed by his children but that doesn’t mean that they shut them out completely from their lives and refuse to see them again. Antigone tries to convince her father to meet with her brother knowing that the two may reconcile and that this may bring both of them some comfort and help them come to grips with any problems they might have.

''And how the fight was won

— why fill the air with empty boasting?''

King Theseus

King Theseus is an important character in the play and he represents goodness. Theseus is in comparison with the other characters kind and just, loyal and humble, a person who doesn’t like to brag about his achievements. When Creon took Oedipus’s children, Theseus gathered his army and went immediately after him to retrieve the two girls. When he returned victorious, he refused to boast about his achievements, choosing instead to remain humble and to urge others to remain humble as well. For him, the events that took place in the past did not matter to him and he chose instead to focus on how he can become a better person in the future and how he can help others through his actions and through his attitude.

''Not to be born is best
when all is reckoned in, but once a man has seen the light
the next best thing, by far, is to go back
back where he came from, quickly as he can.''


Oedipus suffered a lot in his life because of his actions and because of the actions others took and influenced him in a direct manner. When he reached an old age, Oedipus was a disabled man who needed to be taken care of by someone at all times. Because of this, he claimed that it is better for a person to never be born than to be brought into the world and then suffer all their lives. If a person is born, then what they can do is to wish for their lives to end quickly, avoiding thus prolonging their suffering unnecessarily.

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