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OEDIPUS: Let me provide the answer: If you listen to me and do as the disease demands, You will rise again and find relief from this curse.

OEDIPUS: You plead for help. Let me provide the answer: If you listen to me and do as the disease demands, You will rise again and find relief from this curse. I tell you these things as a stranger, A stranger to all that happened here, But I cannot go far on this trail alone Unless I have some sort of sign. Therefore, as I have since become a citizen, I will make this decree to all of Thebes: If any man knows who killed Laius, son of Labdacus, I command him to disclose everything to me. Do not fear that you will condemn yourself. I offer amnesty and will drop all charges— Only exile, and you will leave this land unharmed. Should anyone know that the murderer is a foreigner, Let him not keep silent any longer; I will pay a rich reward and give my grateful thanks. But if you should keep silent out of fear, To protect yourself or shield a friend, Then hear what I will do, Should my ruling be ignored: I forbid any inhabitant of the land Where I hold the seat of power To speak with or shelter this man, To share the sacred or hold sacrifice, Or to sprinkle the water of holy rites. Banish him, shun him from your homes. This is the man who has plagued us With the curse the oracle revealed to me.

So I stand, side by side with the god, Fighting for the rights of the murdered man. I damn the killer, whoever he may be, An unknown man, or one of many. May he suffer and die, pain beyond pain. I damn myself, if I should come to know That he shares my hearth and home— Then I call this curse to fall on me.

I command you, see this to its end, For my sake, for the gods, and for your country, Decaying into a godforsaken wasteland. Even if Apollo had not sent his decree, It was not right that the crime went unpurged. Your king, the best of men, was cruelly killed, But you sought no answers. Now I rule, I have the authority that once was his, I own his bed and make his wife mine. My children, planted in the same mother as his, Could have forged a bond of blood between us, If fate had not fallen and he had not died childless. His cause is mine, and I will fight for him, As if he were my very own father, And I will stop at nothing to find The one who has this man’s blood on his hands, For the sake of ancient Agenor, Cadmus, Polydorus, And Labdacus, and for Laius, the last of his line.

Those who disobey me be damned by the gods: Your barren land will know no harvest, Nurture no children. This curse or something Far, far worse will doom you to destruction. Those faithful Thebans who accept my words Can claim that Justice stands at their side. May the good grace of the gods be with you forever.

How does Oedipus’s speech in the above section (from “You plead for help...” through the line “May the good grace of the gods be with you forever”) raise the stakes in the play?

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