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See also:  [Sphinx] (in art history)

           [Greek Gods] (literature)
           [gods] (in literature)
              [Greek drama] (theatre)


On this page: {The Riddle of the Sphinx}

The Sphinx

In Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex", Antigone and Ismene are intoduced as appearing in the *Exodos*, but do not speak. According to the "Bedford Compact Guide to Drama", Sphinx - A winged monster with the body of a lion and face of a woman [again with the overt mysogny of the Greeks!]. The Sphinx had tormented [the city of] Thebes with her riddle, killing those who could not solve it. When Oedipus solved the riddle, the Sphinx killed herself. -- [FootNote 39, P. 43] This tragi-comic ending has always reminded me of the bridge keeper in the film "Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail".

The Riddle of the Sphinx

What is it that walks on four legs in the morning, and only upon two legs in the afternoon, but in the evening walks on three legs? According to tradtion/mythology/?history? it was King Sophecles of Thebes that solved the riddle. The answer is .... . .. ... .... ..... 5 (a sort of "pyramidal count" down, if you will ;) .... ... .. . . .. ... .... 4 ... .. . . .. ... 3 .. . . .. 2 . . 1 (0) and the answer is... on the next line... "man" in the "morning" (as a baby) he crawls on all fours, in the noon of his life, he walks up-right, and in the eveing of his life he walks, but with a cane as a the third "leg".