To rid the city of his accursed presence, and thus, if possible, save it from the threatened destruction, Oedipus banished himself, and wandered away, old, blind, and poor, for he would take none of his riches with him.
He departed sorrowfully, leaving his kingdom to his two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, and telling them to care for their sisters, Antigone and Ismene. Ismene wept bitterly when she said goodby to her father; but Antigone placed her father’s hand upon her shoulder, said that she would never forsake him, and left the city, tenderly supporting and guiding him.
Father and daughter wandered thus from place to place, finding no rest; for all the people shrank from even looking upon Oedipus, who, they said, was evidently accursed by the gods, since he had committed such frightful crimes. After many days’ wandering and much fatigue, the exiles arrived at last on the border of a dark forest held sacred to the Furies,the goddesses whose duty it was to punish all criminals by tormenting them as long as they lived, and even after they had died.
When Antigone described to her poor blind father the place they had reached, he bade her remain by the roadside, and, groping his way, soon vanished into the forest. He had scarcely gone, when a terrible thunderstorm arose. The air grew dark, the lightning flashed, the thunder rolled, the trees bent and twisted in the wind; and, although Antigone called her father again and again, she heard no answering cry.
When morning came, she went to look for him, but found no trace of him. The people in the neighborhood then told her that the Furies had dragged her father away to punish him for his crimes, and Antigone sadly went back to Thebes.
As soon as she arrived in the city, Antigone hastened to the palace to tell her brothers and sister about their father’s sad death; but when she entered her former happy home, she learned that there are sadder things than death, for her brothers were no longer friends, and had begun a terrible quarrel.