Oedipus the King: Novel Summary: Chapter 4
Before Tiresias leaves, he goes on to speak about the murder of King Laius. Here, Oedipus is believed to have entered the palace, thus not hearing all of Tiresias' prophecy. Though the seer has previously hinted at Oedipus' slaying of his father and marriage with his mother, Oedipus doesn't connect this prophecy with that of the oracle which told him years ago that one day he would kill his father and sleep with his mother. Later in the play, Sophocles explains this more fully.
Tiresias leaves by describing Oedipus as such: Revealed at last, brother and father both to the children he embraces, to his mother son and husband both-he sowed the lions his father sowed, he spilled his father's blood.
Next, the Chorus speaks for fairly long, unsure of what to think or who to believe. Having tremendous respect for both Oedipus and Tiresias, the Chorus refuses to make any conclusions, opting to wait and see. It explains, I'm lost, and the wings of dark foreboding beating-I cannot see what's come, what's still to come... and what could breed a blood feud between Laius' house and the son of Polybus?
Polybus is the king of Corinth, a nearby city-state, and he is the adoptive father of Oedipus. As is revealed later in the drama, Oedipus' biological parents, Laius and Jocasta, each receive troubling oracles regarding their son. Laius is told that his son will eventually murder him; Jocasta, likewise, is told that she will sleep with her son. In order to avoid this fate they decide to get rid of Oedipus. They send instructions to leave their baby to die on a mountainside, bound at the ankles. They assume that Oedipus dies, but miraculously a shepherd finds the child and saves him, sending him to live in Corinth as the adopted son of the king and queen there. Oedipus, of course, grows up believing Polybus and Merope to be his parents. One day, however, he receives an oracle from Apollo that warns him that he will kill his father and sleep with his mother. This causes Oedipus to flee Corinth, wary of the prophecy. Eventually he finds Thebes, solves the Sphinx's riddle, and becomes king. Yet on the road to Thebes he bumps into Laius and murders him in cold blood.