Oedipus the King: Novel Summary: Chapter 5
Soon Creon enters the scene, deeply resenting the accusations made by Oedipus against him. He adamantly denies these charges, calling Oedipus a liar. The leader of the Chorus hesitantly defends the king however, saying to Creon, I never look to judge the ones in power.
Next, Oedipus himself enters the scene, confronting his brother-in-law with very harsh words, calling him a traitor. Temporarily finished with the name-calling, Oedipus goes on to ask Creon about the details of Laius' disappearance, eventually returning to the charge that Creon has [betrayed] a kinsman. Yet Creon disputes this accusation, claiming that he has no motive to dethrone Oedipus. As Creon puts it, he already gets a share of the kingship by being the brother of the queen. Though he doesn't have to rule, as Oedipus does, he still receives the benefits of royalty. Creon describes himself: A man of sense, someone who sees things clearly would never resort to treason. No, I've no lust for conspiracy in me, nor could I ever suffer one who does.
Next, Jocasta comes on stage for the first time, hoping to put an end to the ensuing quarrel between her husband and brother. After a few moments, the argument dies down and Oedipus and Jocasta are alone. When Oedipus tells his wife that a prophecy from Delphi has predicted an awful fate, Jocasta reassures him, saying, No skill in the world, nothing human can penetrate the future. To prove this, the queen briefly describes the account of the oracle that told Laius that his son would kill him. Yet Laius was murdered by thieves (and their son was left on a mountain to die), she asserts, so the prophecy did not come true. Unfortunately, she doesn't know how wrong her logic is. For when Oedipus hears from Jocasta that Laius was killed at the intersection of three roads, the king becomes worried because he vaguely remembers killing someone at such a place. He cries, Oh no no, I think I've just called down a dreadful curse upon myself. Wanting more information, Oedipus learns from Jocasta that only a lowly servant saw the murder first-hand. The palace officials immediately send for this servant.
In this section it's important to note some changes that are occurring. No longer is Oedipus the majestic king seen at the play's opening. Now he acts more like a monomaniac dictator of sorts, demanding death for his opponents. He has become an incredibly paranoid ruler, determined to find his own innocence despite an increasing mound of evidence against him.
The Chorus, similarly, begins to change its tune. No longer the staunch supporter of Oedipus, it starts to chastise the king for his outlandish charges. For example, it pleads with Oedipus, Be sensible, give way, my king, I beg you!