I guess if there wouldn't be any prophecies, the ending would be different. I am saying that the ending would be different, as the prophecies, are the core of the story. The first prophecy makes Oedipus’ parents want to dispose of him, and the second time Oedipus hears it he returns back to Thebes. The same prophecies condemn Oedipus in the end, so without the prophecies, the flow of the story would be completely different. Though one can never tell, as Greeks love tragic endings, and would hence find a way to create such a horrific ending, even without the prophecies. Any other opinions? Sandeep Rajgopal

Well I agree that the ending of the story would be different because Oedipus would never find out that it’s his mom he married and had children with, so he wouldn’t stab his eyes out and his mother wouldn’t hang herself. The plague going around Thebes will still be there and probably lead to the cities downfall, as they would have no clue why it’s happening. The farmer who hung Oedipus in a tree by his feet was determined to keep it to himself, thus he would never have mentioned it. I think that the prophecy plays a very big role in the story, obviously because that is what the story is about, the prophecy. Since the myth goes that the prophecies come true, without anybody having mentioned the prophecy Oedipus would still have killed his father and married his mother although the prophecy also states that he would shed his own blood, so I’m not sure how he would do that if he doesn’t find out. Simple as that the story wouldn’t make any sense at all if there were no prophecies since that a big theme of the story, fate and the prophecy supports that. –Jeff Raven (yea i posted it twice didnt get it at first :P)

Also, without the prophecy the play would lose the element of fate. Oedipus killing his father, marrying his mother, and destroying his town would still be tragic...but we wouldn't get the sense that these events are pre-determined. The prophecy sets up King O's downfall as something that can't be avoided. The interesting aspect for the audience, then, becomes the hopelessness of Oedipus trying to do right. As we see him working to fix things for his people, we're drawn to his actions like we're drawn to a train wreck; we want to look away but we can't. If we don't know what is going to happen, we're not watching the events with the same desperation. (Neal)

Who can add textual evidence to support/dispute any of the commentary above?
It seems hard to add any textual evidence as the question itself is a hypothetical situation that is never addressed in the play, we can only guess at what might happen. - Choon


If there were no prophecies in the story then there would be no way that anyone would ever know that Oedipus was the person destroying his city. Also they would have no idea of how to stop the destruction of Thebes. The Oracle told them that the only way to say their city was to banish the person that caused it. Also no one could possible make the connection that it’s Oedipus who is the one that was prophesized to marry his mother and kill his father. The story would not function without the Oracle and its prophecies. – Nate Hamilton

Though, as Choon said, textual evidence can be deemed impossible to add, I can try relating how the story would have potentially taken place without the prophecies. Primarily Oedipus would not be cast away from his parents so they would be one nice “happy” family. But still, as the Greek gods desire, the downfall of this Theban royal family would be predestined. The impending doom could occurs like this: Oedipus, as a young child would be perhaps kidnapped by felons hired by a neighbouring kingdom that have a rift with this Laius. The felons would then claim that the son was dead, but actually have gifted him to the neighbouring kingdom. The queen of this kingdom unable to harm the child, would raise him like her own son. This kingdom then many years later when in war would have Oedipus fight against Laius. Oedipus would kill Laius and win the war for this kingdom. Oedipus would then claim Jocasta for himself, in the process marrying her. The tragedy would then be unveiled when Thebes suffers from a plague like in the original and Oedipus would run into his own doom, when his curiosity would let him stumble upon the fact that Jocasta is his own mother. The story would then end similarly to the original. I chose to relate the story like this as it maintains the tragic and dramatic irony, while also baring similarities to the plot but excluding the Oracle. - Sandeep R.