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In Homer's poetic version of the story, Jocasta hanged herself when she discovered she had married her own son, but Oedipus continued to rule Thebes; however, Sophocles, in his earlier tragedy Oedipus the King, sets up a more dramatic ending. When a terrible pestilence and drought plagues the city of Thebes, the people of Thebes consult the Delphic oracle, who reveals that the disaster could be averted only if the murderer of Laius is detected and banished from Thebes. Subsequent events eventually reveal that it is Oedipus himself who is the son and murderer of Laius. In shock and shame, Oedipus blinds himself and then exiles himself from Thebes.
Meanwhile, Thebes is ruled by his two sons who agree to rule in alternate years. Eteocles takes up rule first but refuses to quit when it is Polyneices' turn to rule. Because the latter had married Argeia, daughter of Adrastus, King of Argos, Polyneices asks his father-in- law to help him reclaim his right to rule Thebes. He also asks Oedipus to support him, but the old king curses both sons for their bitter fratricidal enmity and refuses to help either of them.
Polyneices attacks the seven gates of Thebes with an Argive army led by seven champions, but they are defeated and the two brothers kill each other, according to the curse of Oedipus upon them. Creon then becomes King of Thebes and forbids the burial of Polyneices, dubbing him a traitor. Antigone defies her uncle's unjust law, tries to bury her brother, and is caught. Creon puts her to death even though she is to marry his son, Haemon, who also kills himself. Hearing of this, Creon's wife also commits suicide. Thus, the curse on the house of Laius is complete. This last part of the legend featuring Antigone's rebellion against Creon is dealt with in Sophocles' earlier tragedy Antigone.