These are out of order. Annotate them thoroughly using our annotation guide. Imagine who might be saying these lines. Why would they say them? What inferences can we make based on what is being said?
1. Once, years ago, with happy augury,
You brought us fortune; be the same again!
No man questions your power to rule the land:
But rule over men, not over a dead city!
Ships are only hulls, citadels are nothing,
When no life moves in empty passageways (5).
2. Poor children! You may be sure I know
All that you longed for in your coming here.
I know that you are deathly sick; and yet,
Sick as you are, not one is as sick as I.
Each of you suffers in himself alone
His anguish, not another’s; but my spirit
Groans for the city, for myself, for you (5).
3. Then I will tell you what I heard at Delphi.
In plain words:
The god commands us to expel from the land of Thebes
An old defilement we are sheltering,
it is a deathly thing, beyond cure;
We must not let it feed on us any longer (7).
4. Then once more I must bring what is dark to light.
It is most fitting that Apollo shows,
As you do, this compunction for the dead.
You shall see how I stand beside you, as I should,
To avenge the city and the city’s god,
And not as though it were some distant friend,
But for my own sake, to be rid of evil (9).
Historical Setting for Oedipus Rex”
Excerpt From: Mrs Baum 2014. “Oedipus Unit.” iBooks.
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