Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oedipus--Act 5-B

The Entrance to Temple to Johns
Oedipus 5B
A play based on Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex”

© Eso A. B., 2014 / Last revision 24.2.2015.
Act 5 B (5 A continued)

(Tiresias crawls forward.)

King Yod, do you really think
that a man who has not
endured and been tested for generations
can recognize the truth?
Your grandfather Cadmus,
and your father Laius
(about either of whom by the grace of fate
until today you knew nothing about)
make you of the blind of a third generation.

You can pretend all you want,
but unless God favors you in games of chance
(which, alas! are the only games
He leaves to the Devil) you must
(even if the Devil gives you his blessings)
give more than you receive
--even as God does,
which is why He dies.
A plague plagues Thebes,
because of you, King Yod.
You killed not only our Gods
but with the blessings of the Devil,
King Laius, your blind father.

To cleanse the world of your crime,
only proof that cuts to the bone
will revive Thebes and stay you alive
for a while yet.
King Oedipus:
I rescued Thebes’ children from the Sphinx,
and cut down its hiding place, the wood,
and drained the swamp and chased away the frogs.
Thebans are grateful to me.
Comes winter, they are warm as never before.
The fur tax of the Sphinx
has paid for the golden challice
that sits on the temple tripod.

What do you mean, I killed my father?
The only man I ever killed was
a merchant of children of slaves.
I put out the eyes
of the coachman of their wagon.
You were born son to a King.
You were to be his heir.
What have you turned out to be?

If, for the sake of Thebes,
you had but given it,
a token of yourself,
then Thebans would sing you love songs.
We welcomed and welcome still
the rescue of our children.
But you offered nothing of yourself
to the Gods.
King Oedipus:
You monster theologian!
No wonder they call you Humbaba,
the one with the shriveled teats to her navel.

Had you survived on the mountaintop of Cytheron,
you could have claimed to be King Laius’ heir
without further contest.
But when I carried you up the mountain and to the wood,
your mother screamed as one gone mad
and bared her cunt to all men to spare you the risks.

King Oedipus:
You took me to to the wood?

As tradition demanded
and as your father and King asked me to do.
Your mother insisted that
I let her watch over you.
I agreed—if she sat naked
and offered herself to the Sphinx
and all the frogs of the wood
if these came jumping and found her pleasing.

King Ludi:
What else?

The Queen agreed.
There came a big storm,
and a freezing blizzard.

While I dozed, your mother caught you up
and ran to hide in the herders’s shack.
She let that buck John,
then ten bucks strong,
dance his cock over her.
She left a still-born babe
(one she had brought with her)
in your place in the reindeer sill.

King Ludi:
What fantasy the blind possess!

It is you
who in his blindness
killed your blind father.
John agreed to bring you to this man,
the messenger from Corinth,
who took you to the King and Queen of Corinth
who asked the temple whores to give you suck
and twiddle your weenie.
King Ludi:
What has Creon paid you to invent this story?

When you were about twenty,
your mother visited you disguised as a witch.
She had a plan to regain
the throne of Thebes for you.
You were young and knew nothing.
You couldn’t imagine killing your father
and taking your mother to bed.
But the Queen could.
That is why she caused you to flee Corinth.
Your mother and aunt were overjoyed
when you arrived in Thebes.

King Ludi:
A fancy story.

When you were welcomed to Thebes a hero,
no one yet knew you were a coward
who could not depart of your finger.
Ha! Ha!

(Laughs!) Ha! Ha! Ha!

(Laughs! and invites the audience to laugh)
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

You met your father in the wood
at the crossroad, remember?

King Ludi:
That was not my father.
That man came to exchange
motheaten furs from the state treasury
for the children of slaves.
There you tell a half truth.
You must have heard the story
of how Esau the trapper
after a winter in the wood
came home to Thebes,
where the merchant Jacob
stole his furs and presented them to King Laius
(the Queen had instituted taxation by then)
in lieu of unpaid taxes.
How little you know, King Yod.
Listen! There is more.
Your mother and her sister used to be courtesans
at the Temple in Corinth.
Both knew of many babes
buried under the floor of the whorehouse
or lost to the wood and wolves.
They wished to spare like fate
for their own children.
Fortune smiled on Merope.
She was lucky and met King Polybus,
and shared him with her sister.
At a hunters’ party,
also attended by King Laius,
King Laius asked King Polybus
If he coud take Iocaste back with him to Thebes.

Merope bore King Polybus no children—
such are the consequences of a whore’s trade.
But Iocasta bore King Laius a son
who already lay in her belly
at the time she met him.
So, you are of the son of King Laius alrigh.
When you were born,
King Laius wanted to test whether the Gods
approved of you.
Iocaste, afraid that the Gods could and would
tell the truth,
was terrified for you.

King Oedipus:
Because I was never tested,
I was cursed to kill my father, the King,
and marry my mother?

Do you wish to know what became of the golden wire?
Your mother took it back from John.
She laid him more than once to get it.
She presented it to you
on the day you married her.
She had it reworked into the very necklace
you wear around your neck.

King Ludi:
Dear Gods!

Before I go to sleep, I often exclaim:
‘Oh Gods, oh Gods, oh Gods.’

(Tiresias dies. Enter Princess Ismene’s nurse, Iananna.)

Queen Iocaste is dead.
King Oeipus:
‘Oh Gods, oh Gods, oh Gods.’

(King Ludi steps behind a stage column and disappears.)

Polynices and Haemon are dead.
Polynices turned on Antigone,
when he heard she had conceived.

After the Queen died,
Prince Creon declared himself
King of Thebes.
Creon sent messengers
throughout the kingdom of Thebes
to tell the Ludi (the people) that King Yod had lost his mind.
War broke out with Corinth.
Eteokles lead the Thebans on behalf of Creon
against the Corinthian people.
The citizens of Corinth would not
have tax collector Creon for their king,
but kept asking for King Oedipus,
who had awakened by then,
and had parted of his finger.

News just in:
Eteokles is dead in battle.
Dead, too, by a mushroom brew,
is Queen Meropw.

King Creon has thrown
Prince Polynices’ body to the dogs.
Ismene weeps and suckles Antigone's son,
born alive despite a breach birth.

Eridike, Creon’s wife, is dead.
She took her life to hasten the wrath
of the Gods against cock sucking Creon.

Because King Oedipus had refused sacrifice,
in lieu of his pinky, here is the list of Thebe’s dead:

1) The nameless babe who replaced Oedipus on Mt. Citheron.
2) King Oedipus’s father, King Laius.
3) I do not know how many of the king's guards
    fell at the crossroad during Oedipus’s ambush?
4) the coachman of the wagon of meriahs
(here dead before our feet.);
5) Oedipus’s stepfather Polybus in Corinth,
who took poison to give Oedipus a reason
to absent himself from Thebes.
6) Queen Merope, King Pedipus’s stepmother.
King Oedipus:
Good, Iananna! Don’t torture me!
We count at least fifteen
of your household among the dead.
(Ismene comes from behind a stage pillar with Antigone’s  newborn in her arms. She goes to her father and takes him by his arm.)
King Oedipus:
Sweet Ismene, I’m not the monster you may think!
You know the way to Mt. Citheron, sweet.
Take me there.
Be my comforter.
We’ll keep each other warm.
We’ll wait the night out under the stars.
They say that from the peak of Mt. Citheron
you can see far and further into the deep.

(Exit everyone, but chorus and Queen Ismene. The stage as at Prologue.)

Only life comes easy;
death takes much to do.

So many dead! How did it happen?
A mother promised her son more, he received less.
No mother wants her children to call her a liar.
What went amiss?

Ere Queen Iocasta returned from Corinth
and threw her witch’s mask
among the reeds of the Sphinx’s swamp,
she and her sister Merope
caused Prince Oedipus to come visit Thebes.

The sisters hired armed men to escort Oedipus.
The captain of the guard was in Queen Merope's hire;
Queen Iocasta did not tell King Laius her design.
Blind as he was, she dressed him as a merchant,
and arranged for him to meet Ludi at the roads
that cross in Mt. Citheron’s wood.

The queen told the King (as if in an aside):
‘King Oedipus, I forgot to mention,
tomorrow ten children are being brought
as sacrifices for state occasions.
Be so good, take ten reindeer pelts
and go to the crossroad to receive them.’

Strophe and Antistrophe:
King Laius was killed
when he met the caravan and asked
(that was the code)
"to see the angels of peace,
who take flight from the terraces
of the Sphinx's Temple."
  - 30 –
The Old Barn and Wreck

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