Oedipus’s destiny was determined by the gods prior to his existence, he was to symbolize those who undermine the influence of the gods. Apollo, the god of plagues, used Oedipus as an example for Thebes to become aware of the penalty for all who stray from their religious roots. Jocasta’s hubris resulted in the birth of Oedipus, who was destined to murder his father and father her children. She had continued to act in defiance to the gods as she had attempted to prevent the prophecy from becoming a reality. Nevertheless, Apollo had sent a sympathetic shepherd to save Oedipus after Jocasta had “abandoned [him] on a mountain, [to] leave/him alone to die” (P56, lines 943-944), thus allowing him to fulfill his prophecy. Apollo had ensured that Oedipus was to be “born to suffer, born/to misery and grief” (P71, lines 1355-1356), to show the people of Thebes his wrath that would be revealed to those who defy him.
Oedipus’ hubris was accepted by his citizens, as a result, Apollo had cursed them for they had been influenced by the insolence he had towards the gods. Oedipus was also the source of the pestilence that his polis had fallen ill to, he had believed that if he were exiled that they would be cured. I believe that Thebes would heal when Oedipus admits that the power of Apollo is much greater than his own. Oedipus’ subjects must also declare Apollo’s strength to avoid retribution and receive his mercy. Apollo is potent enough to sicken and restore the health of the people, Oedipus was sent to remind Thebes of Apollo’s competence as well as the authority of the gods.