Letter from Eteocles (David Yulo)

Oedipus, My Wretched Father,

I am so ashamed to be the offspring of a such an aberrant union that I do not even wish to leave my chamber. Since your birth you were damned to commit such dreadful acts of murder and incest. Now that the curse has been revealed to the public, my siblings and I born through your union with our and your mother have to live with malignant blood flowing through our veins for the rest of the world to look down upon. You have driven Jocasta, poor unfortunate mother to us all, to death. Deception and disgrace are the only two words that can describe your disgusting existence.

I must admit, when I first heard of the possibilities and the rumors after Tiresias’ visit, I would not believe it to be true. You, of all people, who saved the town from the Sphinx and led our people at the time when their king had disappeared, have fooled everyone with your admirable works. Now you have nothing left. Not your kingdom nor your dignity. Why you won’t just end your life now is beyond me. Your lineage is now diseased; I am diseased.

With that in mind, I have only one solution for all our best interests. I no longer wish to be affiliated with you. I am cutting all ties with you and actively seek your throne. I think it best go to me as opposed to Polynices simply because he is older than I. Perhaps I can dedicate my life to making amends in behalf of our family. I have also decided that your curse must end with your children, as far as I am concerned, which is why I have chosen not to bear any offspring. May the gods let no one else suffer the same shame we have.

This, then, is my last message to you, Oedipus. I shall personally see to it that you are sent off from Thebes as soon as possible. But since I am not totally incapable of feeling compassion, and after all you are still my father, I hope the gods show you mercy on your journey away from Thebes. Wherever you may go, may they grant you peace for the rest of your life. Your dishonor is enough suffering.

Before you leave, be sure to bid your last farewell to Antigone and Ismene for they are still too young to understand the humiliation they face. Settle your terms of banishment with Creon, your brother-in-law, and leave me your throne for the privilege to rule over Thebes. I will take care of burying our mother and looking after my sisters. God willing, decent men would desire them for their wives but have no children by them.

This is my last goodbye. Farewell.

Sincerely yours,



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