Oedipus was a Greek king who was a tragic hero in Greek mythology. In Greek myths, Oedipus is a tragic figure who unknowingly fulfilled a prohecy that he would kill his father and marry his own mother. Oedipus was left to die by his true father, King Laius, who knew of the prophecy, but was saved and successively adopted by Polybus, the king of Corinth. Oedipus knew about this prophecy and decided to leave Corinth, to avoid killing his father and marrying his mother. However, he did not know that the parents he left were his adoptive parents. Oedipus unknowingly ended up killing his biological father and marrying his true mother. After realizing this, his mother committed suicided and Oedipus blinded himself.
The name Oedipus means "swollen foot" and was chosen because of the swelling to his feet and ankles, caused by his being tied by the feet as a baby by King Laius, when he was left to die.
The myth of Oedipus was successively used by Sigmund Freud
, to describe the Oedipus complex. Freud explained that every child has the desire for undivided love by his mother and the unconscious wish for his father's death, in order to gain it, alongside the unconscious desire to have sexual intercourse with his mother.
Oedipus is pronounced differently depending on British or American English. In the UK, Oedipus is pronounced as ee-dih-pus
, while in the US it is pronounced eh-dih-pus
. The only difference is that in Britain the "oe" is pronounced as a short "e", so sounding like "ee", , while in the US "oe" is pronounced with a long "e", resulting in an "eh" sound.