Oedipus at Colonus, set twenty years after the events of Oedipus the King, shows the former king in old age, ragged and blind, cast into exile by his sons, but still accompanied by his faithful daughter Antigone. Creon becomes the successor of Oedipus's throne in Thebes and his sons, Eteocles and Polynices, are skirmishing for the overthrow of Creon and the throne. Another prophecy creates disturbances for Oedipus and this leads him ultimately to death. This masterpiece was written when Sophocles was nearly ninety. Although at an old age, Sophocles creates some of his finest lyrics in Oedipus at Colonus.
Oedipus has been wandering like a beggar with his daughter, Antigone, and has reached Colonus, a suburb of Athens. They reach a grove, which is a shrine of Eumenides, that admission is forbidden. A man approaches them and Oedipus tells the man to inform the king of Athens, Theseus, of his arrival. A group of elders enter the scene and Oedipus reveals his identity to them. They quickly urge Oedipus to leave. Ismene comes into the picture and brings the duo news about the whereabouts of Thebes. She announces that Eteocles and Polynices are quarreling about possession of the throne. Meanwhile, Polynices has already retreated to Agros to raise an army to conquer Thebes. In addition, the oracle of Delphi has made another prophecy- that the burial place of Oedipus will bring continued good fortune to the city which owns it. .
Oedipus pleads to Theseus, king of Athens, for refuge. In return, Oedipus discloses his tragic story to the sympathetic king. Theseus pledges his protection to Oedipus and also promises him a proper burial site on the soil of his kingdom. Oedipus reassures Theseus that Athens will be rewarded if this is done, but says he must not reveal any more for the time being. .
Creon and his attendants locate Oedipus and try to persuade him to return to Thebes. First, he tries to persuade him by concerns of his well-being and Oedipus does not fall in his trap.