Oedipus Rex and the Theme of Blindness

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Sophocles's play, "Oedipus the King" is one of the most well known of the Greek tragedies. The play's interesting plot, along with the incredible way it is written are only two of the many reasons why two thousand years later, it is still being read and viewed. For those who are not familiar with the story of "Oedipus the King", it is written about the results of a curse put on King Oedipus which claims that he will murder his father and marry his mother. After reading or viewing this play, it is apparent that there are a few different themes, though the one which will be discussed in this essay is the theme of blindness. The theme of blindness is shown through the blind prophet, through Oedipus's blindness in realizing the truth, and finally through Oedipus stabbing his own eyes to the point of blindness. The first way that blindness is portrayed in this play is through Teiresias, who is a blind prophet. He is called to the city of Thebes by Oedipus in hope that he can provide some information about the murder of the previous king, Laius. Oedipus asks Teiresias to speak what he knows, and at first he is hesitant. He eventually gives in, and explains that it is Oedipus who is the murderer of Laius. This enrages Oedipus, who becomes angry with Teiresias and begins to criticize him for his blindness saying, "… you are blind in mind and ears as well as in your eyes." This comment is quite humorous to the audience because it does not truly describe Teiresias, but Oedipus instead. The next way that the theme of blindness is shown is through Oedipus's blindness in realizing the truth of his life. He was given hints by numerous people, yet was still oblivious to the reality. Oedipus's first hint was when a drunken man accused him of being a bastard child. Next was the prediction from Phoebus, who said that he was "fated to lie with his mother … and doomed to be the murderer of his father." His next clue was from Teiresias, who claimed that he was the...
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