Blindness in Oedipus

Topics: Oedipus, Tiresias, Knowledge Pages: 2 (444 words) Published: March 15, 2005
"The blind man sees and the seeing man is blind."
To what extent is this true in Oedipus the King?

"To be wise is to suffer." Throughout this play we see that after Oedipus suffers and loses his eyesight it is only then he is able to seek the truth.

When we are first introduced to Oedipus, he is a strong leader who is thoroughly respected by the people of Thebes. "O greatest of men." Oedipus was the saviour of Thebes 15 years before he solved the riddle of the Sphinx which freed the city from the plague and death. Because of this act, he inherited the throne although when a new disaster threatened the prosperity of the city, the people of Thebes turned to Oedipus. "I grieve for you my children. Believe me; I know all that you desire of me, all that you suffer." Oedipus learns that there is an "unclean thing" which is polluting their soil. He declares punishment to this thing that if he owns up now then his punishment will not be harsh but if he conceals the truth and it later outed then nothing will save him. "No matter who he may be, he is forbidden shelter or intercourse with any man." After declaring this punishment, Oedipus is approached by Teiresias, a frail, blind prophet who says that Oedipus is the "cursed polluter of this land." Oedipus is horrified by this accusation and mocks the blind prophet. Later on in the play, we see that Oedipus becomes the figure he once mocked.

At the beginning, we are informed that Oedipus has murdered his father and married his mother. Throughout the play, we observe how Oedipus is completely oblivious to this knowledge and we are able to watch how he learns about the truth. As he follows the path to his destruction he becomes aware of the truth.

Upon learning that he has killed his father and married his mother, Oedipus gouges out his eyes and makes himself blind. He feels that if he kills himself then he must face his mother/wife and father in heaven and he does not have the strength to do so. By making...
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