Classical Tragedies That Could Have Been Prevented With Smartphones

A Retrospective

art by Mali Skotheim

Oedipus Rex
On his way to Thebes after killing Laius, Oedipus hears that the king has died. Out of idle curiosity, he whips out his phone and Wikis the king of Thebes, who is famous enough to have a page with a picture. Oedipus realizes what he did, and that he’s fucked if he gets to Thebes and the royal family finds out, so he turns around and goes the other way. The Sphinx marries Jocasta instead.

The Death of Semele
When Semele demands visible proof of Zeus’ divinity, he opens the Twitter app on his phone and shows her the blue check mark next to his name.

Atalanta and Hippomenes
Atalanta holds down the home button on her iPhone. “Siri, remind me to properly honor Aphrodite so that my husband and I don’t become lions.”

The Odyssey
Odysseus texts Penelope to let her know that he’s running late.

The Bacchae
Pentheus takes a picture of the partying Maenads using the camera on his phone, thinking that this could go viral. He accidentally turns on the flash. The Maenads’ noses start bleeding and they yell at him to get out.

Theseus and the Minotaur
Theseus uses Google Maps to find his way around the labyrinth, so Ariadne has no pretense for flirting with him and goes back to swiping on Tinder. After killing the Minotaur, Theseus heads home and gives his dad a call when they’re almost there. Once the relief that Theseus is alive passes, Aegeus shakes his head at the incorrect sails of the ship approaching on the horizon and wonders what he did to deserve this idiot son.

The Blinding of Tiresias
Zeus and Hera are arguing over who get more pleasure out of sex, men or women. Hera looks it up on her phone, but doesn’t tell Zeus the answer.

Orpheus and Eurydice
Orpheus texts “u there?” to Eurydice as they make their way back from Hades. (Caveat: this depends on how good the cell service is between the underworld and the land of the living.) She texts back, “whats up.”

Yung In Chae’s smartphone just died, a tragedy that she could have prevented by bringing her charger.