Oedipus the King: The Tragic Hero

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Aaron Laidler
10 September 2012
Period 1
AP Lit.
Mr. Wise
Oedipus Essay
The ability to see is a much more complex ability than just the physical attribute. Most individuals have the ability to see physically but are blind to the reality of certain circumstances. In the play, “Oedipus the King” by Plato, Oedipus, the tragic hero, is not a blind man but cannot see the reality in the outcome of trying to escape his given fate.

Some individuals are blind to who they actually are, this is displayed when Oedipus in defense mocks Teiresias. This quote reads, “it has no strength for you because you are blind in mind and ears as well as in your eyes”. Oedipus does not realize that his statement about the prophet really is more true to what is wrong with him. The irony in this is Oedipus comes to this man for insight obviously because the prophet is much wiser than Oedipus himself. Surely this is the first display of his tragic flaw which is being blind to the reality of his situation.

Even when the reality of what is to happen is put right in front of someone they still cannot see what is to come. The prophet tells how Oedipus will give “blindness for sight” and “beggary for riches”. When this was told to him he called the prophet foolish but in the end Oedipus gouges his eyes out making himself physically blind so that he may see reality much more clear. He also goes out on a journey giving up royalty to be a beggar. This is ironic because he has become the very thing that he mocked earlier in the play. By this time he has fixed his tragic flaw but it is too late because he has already fallen so far.

For most people it takes extremely difficult lessons for them to see things for what they really are. Oedipus gains more insight as the story goes. He says in lines 812 through 814, “I have a deadly fear that the old seer had eyes”. He is now realizing that physical sight is completely different than being wise and he now sees that Teiresias may be wiser than he...
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