Oedipus is the most widely known of all Sophocles’ plays. This is primarily because of the psychological concept of the “Oedipal Complex” that Sigmund Freud named for the play’s protagonist, also know as an Oedipus Complex. It posits that all men subconsciously seek to kill their father and marry their mother. After hearing his prophesied fate was to kill his father and then marry is mother, Oedipus tried everything to ensure that this very thing did not happen. However, the very actions taken to avoid this fate led him to fulfill the prophecy.
When Oedipus was first born, his father heard the prophecy that Oedipus would grow up to kill his father and marry his mother. He decided to get rid of his child.
However, Oedipus was saved by a shepherd and adopted by the king and queen of Corinth. When he hears rumors of his adoption, he seeks confirmation from the oracle at Delphi.
The oracle told him one day he would kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus decides to move away. On his journey, he comes to a crossroads where he quarrels with a traveler and kills him.
Years later, Jocasta tells Oedipus that her husband, the previous king of Thebes, was killed at a crossroads. At first, they both think it is merely a coincidence.
It is not a coincidence that the prophet of the story is blind. Although he does not have bodily sight, Tiresias can see the truth as it actually is. He warns Oedipus he will only come to grief by investigating the murder of Laius.
At the end of the play, Oedipus realizes that the prophecy is true. He gouges his own eyes with pins so that he no longer has to behold the world.