The Hard Curses of My Father
On "Oedipus at Colonus."
To a land of fine horses have you come,
Stranger, to the mightiest dwellings on earth,
To Colonus, gleaming white, where
The clear-toned nightingale
Sings so often,
Beneath the green glades,
Dwelling in the wine-dark ivy
And the untouched foliage of a god,
Of countless berries, without sun,
Without the wind from any
Storms. Here are the haunts of Dionysus, always,
In Bacchic revelry,
Roaming with His divine nurses.
—Sophocles, “Oedipus at Colonus”
Would you forgive or curse your son if he stood by and allowed you to be exiled from your homeland? Would you ask your father’s blessing to slay your brother? Would you go to war knowing you were destined to die?
I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction to my piece on Joan Didion. So here is another one in that vein, this time about “Oedipus at Colonus” by Sophocles, at the heart of which are questions of fate, family, guilt, and redemption.