The Blind Oedipus

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Nicholas Coleman
Prof. Shemak
English 265
2 October 2009

The Blind Oedipus
Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance keeps us blind, yet it frees us from the painful stare of truth. A false paradise is created under the veil of knowledge that is simply not present. The theme of vision and blindness is significant in Oedipus Rex because throughout the play, the truth was always beyond the characters grasp, and without truth the actions carried out by the characters were done in blindness. Their views and behaviors are direct evidence of their inability to see what was in front of them. The consequences for these blind activities spanned the whole play, and the lessons did not seem to be learned, as if they too were shrouded in darkness themselves.

Vision, or the lack of, is very common. From the first account of Oedipus’s misjudgment about the prophecy that foretold that the killer of the previous king was still in Thebes, Oedipus instantly blamed Creon, “Wealth, power, craft of statesmanship! Kingly position, everywhere admired! What savage envy is stored up against these, if Creon, whom I trusted, Creon my friend, for this great office which the city one put in my hands unsought- if for this power Creon desires in secret to destroy me”(21). This accusation was made in complete ignorance. Not only is Oedipus blind to the truth of the true identity of the wrongdoer, but he blindly accuses his right hand man. There is no shred of evidence to support this blind claim, and this fact makes the observation of his ignorance being his blindness more evident. These blind accusations can also be observed when Oedipus turns a deaf ear to Teiresias’s words, “You are king… I am not your servant, but Apollo’s. I have no need of Creon to speak for me. Listen to me. You mock my blindness, do you? But I say that you, with both your eyes, are blind: You cannot see the wretchedness….who are your mother and father? You do not know the blind wronging you have done them, on earth and...
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