blindness in oedipus the king essay

Oedipus Rex

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When Oedipus publicly declares his intention to solve the mystery of King Laius's murder, he says, "I'll start again—I'll bring it all to light myself." Oedipus's vision and intelligence have made him a great king of Thebes—he solved the riddle of the Sphinx and revitalized the city. But he is blind to the truth about his own life. It takes the blind prophet, Tiresias , to point out his ignorance and to plant the first seeds of doubt in Oedipus's mind. When Oedipus mocks Tiresias's blindness, Tiresias predicts that Oedipus himself will soon be blind. And indeed, when Oedipus learns the full story—that he has killed his father and married his mother—he gouges out his eyes. He learns the nature of fate and the power of the gods, but at a great cost. And though he is blinded, he has learned to see something he could not see before.

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Blindness in Oedipus the King

People can be blinded to the truth. The answer to their question or solution to their problem may have been obvious. Yet, they could not “see” the answer. They were blinded to the truth. Associations have been made between being blind and enlightened. A blind person is said to have powers to see invisible things. They “see” into the future. The blind may not have physical sight, but they have another kind of vision. In Sophocles’ King Oedipus , Teiresias, the blind prophet, presents the truth to King Oedipus and Jocasta. Oedipus has been blinded to the truth his whole life . When he does find the truth, he loses his physical vision.

Because of the truth, Oedipus blinds himself. Jocasta was blind to the true identity of Oedipus. Even when she found out the truth, she refused to accept it. In this case, those who are blind ultimately do have a higher vision – the truth. Kind Oedipus started life with a prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. In an attempt to avoid this fate, his parents, Laius and Jocasta, sent him into the mountains to die. However, a shepherd saved Oedipus. This shepherd gave Oedipus to Polybus and Merope. When Oedipus learned of his prophecy, he fled his home, thinking these people were his real parents.

On his flight, he met Laius. He ended up killing Laius. He continued on, answered a riddle of the evil Sphinx, and ended up king of Thebes. With this kingdom, Oedipus married Jocasta. He had lived out the prophecy without even knowing he had. Thebes fell onto bad times , and a prophet put the blame on a polluter of the lands. Oedipus called on Teiresias, and Teiresias informed him that the polluter was the King. As Oedipus searched further and further, he discovered that he was the polluter and that the prophecy had come true. When Oedipus finally discovered the truth, he was so distressed that he ran pins into his eyes, blinding himself.

He had been blinded to the truth for so long. Oedipus was blind in more then one way. He was blind to the truth about his own life. Oedipus had no idea that his real parents were Laius and Jocasta. He was so blind that he got mad at anyone who was foolish enough to suggest such an idea. As more and more of the story started to fall into place, Oedipus was forced to open his eyes to the truth. Oedipus did kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus was the person causing the bad times in Thebes. As soon as Oedipus knew and accepted the truth, he blinded himself. Just as Teiresias was blind and open to the truth, so was Oedipus.

Oedipus was also physically blind. Oedipus’ physical blindness played into the whole role of the Greek tragedy. The blindness completed the tragedy for Oedipus . Every Greek tragedy was supposed to end with the main characters experiencing their own, personal tragedy. For Oedipus, this tragedy was discovering the truth and becoming blind. It completed the prophecies that Oedipus received from the blind prophet, Teiresias. Teiresias told Oedipus that he had come into Thebes with his sight , but he would leave Thebes without it. Oedipus’ physical blindness also left Oedipus to the wrongs of his life.

With nothing to look at, Oedipus was forced to think about his life and what had happened. He was forced to deal with it. He had the blackness and the physical pain he had inflicted on himself as reminders and as punishment. Oedipus’ physical blindness was just as painful as his blindness to the truth. Both were intertwined in each other. Jocasta’s blindness was different then Oedipus’. She knew about the prophecy, but she thought Oedipus was dead. She had no idea that she had married her son. As pieces of information came to point to the whole truth of the matter, Jocasta refused to accept what had really happened.

She realized what had happened, and she knew that she had played a role in them. Her way of dealing with the whole deal was to kill herself. Jocasta’s blindness ultimately led to her downfall. Teiresias’ blindness was of the physical nature. Teiresias played the role of the typical prophet in the Greek tragedy . He was physically blind, but he had vision into the future. When he presented the truth to Oedipus, Oedipus attacked his blindness. He told Teiresias that the only reason he was not blaming him for the whole situation was that Teiresias could not see.

Oedipus used his blindness to prophesize that Oedipus would leave Thebes blind, poor, and shamed. This statement irritated Oedipus even more. Oedipus began to turn away from the idea of a prophet and seeing into the future. Teiresias’ physical blindness led to Oedipus’ physical blindness. Figurative blindness can be harder to deal with then literal blindness. A person who is physically blind knows that he will probably be blind the rest of his life. That person will learn to deal with the blindness. However, if a person is blind to the truth, there is nothing that person can do until they learn the truth.

The person may not even know that he is wrong. When the person does learn the truth, he tends to feel ignorant. The person wonders if things could have been avoided had the truth only been known. For Oedipus and Jocasta in Sophocles’ King Oedipus, this scenario was just the case. When Oedipus learned the truth, his way of dealing with his figurative blindness was to blind himself. When Jocasta learned the truth, her way of dealing with her figurative blindness was to kill herself. In this play, blindness led to the truth, and the truth led to blindness. Oedipus, Teiresias, and Jocasta were all blind, yet all found the truth.

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The Concept of Willful Blindness in Oedipus The King

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blindness in oedipus the king essay

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  2. (DOC) Oedipus The King by Sophocles Theme of Blindness

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COMMENTS

  1. Sight vs. Blindness Theme in Oedipus Rex | LitCharts

    When Oedipus mocks Tiresias's blindness, Tiresias predicts that Oedipus himself will soon be blind. And indeed, when Oedipus learns the full story—that he has killed his father and married his mother—he gouges out his eyes. He learns the nature of fate and the power of the gods, but at a great cost.

  2. Blindness in Oedipus the King Essay on - Essay Examples

    Oedipus has been blinded to the truth his whole life. When he does find the truth, he loses his physical vision. Because of the truth, Oedipus blinds himself. Jocasta was blind to the true identity of Oedipus. Even when she found out the truth, she refused to accept it.

  3. Oedipus’ Blindness to Reality in Oedipus the King by ...

    Oedipus declares that Tiresias lacks truth because of his blindness, as we find in his line, 'Since you are blind in your ears and mind and eyes'.

  4. The Concept Of Willful Blindness In Oedipus The King: [Essay ...

    “Willful blindness” is an innate human mechanism that keeps our minds in the dark, and it usually plays out in almost everything we do. This can be seen in the common example of the phrase “How could I have been so blind?” which is heard often in television or every day conversation.

  5. Examples Of Sight And Blindness In Oedipus The King

    The theme of sight versus blindness in the tragic play “ Oedipus the king” by Sophocles is a metaphor, with blindness symbolising knowledge, light and truth while sight symbolises ignorance, darkness and lie.

  6. Blindness In Oedipus The King Essay - 725 Words | Bartleby

    Sight and Blindness in Oedipus the King Essay You can’t hurt me or anyone else who sees the light-you can never touch me.” (10) Here Oedipus is suggesting that Teiresias is inferior to anyone who can see, including himself, and is not a threat to them.

  7. Sight And Blindness In Oedipus The King Essay - bartleby

    The theme of sight and blindness is both betrayed as physical, like the blind prophet and Oedipus blinding himself, and as a metaphor for searching for the truth, only when Oedipus discovers and finally sees the truth, it is too much to handle and he blinds himself in punishment.

  8. Sight and Blindness in Oedipus the King Essay - bartleby

    In this quote, a theme such as blindness is shown through Teiresias’ words to Oedipus, to whom he is telling that even with his physical sight, in the inside he is blind because he is unwilling to know the truth about his life. He also tells Oedipus that since he does not see the truth about his life, he doesn’t see the anguish of his life either.

  9. Blindness In Oedipus The King - 625 Words | Bartleby

    Blindness In Oedipus The King Blindness is a theme that is very prominent in both plays as both of the kings suffer from some sort of mental blindness. King Lear is blind to the truth and he lets flattery get to his head when he says: “Tell me, my daughters / …which of you shall we say doth love us most” (Shakespeare.