Blindness In Oedipus Rex

Good Essays
Simran Kaur
Ms. Chung and Professor Lin
Humanities 101 – Section 7
September 14, 2015
Blindness as a Spiritual Awakening in Oedipus Rex In literature, blindness has come to be associated with insight and highly sensitive perception. While Oedipus gains awareness to the truth, no longer blind to his past, before blinding himself, he gains a more spiritual sight after blinding himself. Amidst the terror that strikes in the last few scenes of Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is finally able to take control of his fate by stabbing brooches in his eyes and therefore is able to master the goal of deciding his destiny he had been trying to achieve in his life. It’s this blindness that allows him to live spiritually uplifted and no longer concern
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Since he blinds himself after he learns the truth, he transitions to becoming physically blind but spiritually aware. Earlier in the novel, he has tunnel vision for he must know the truth to maintain his leadership and feed his hubris for being the great king that solves the city’s problems. He refers to himself as, “I, Oedipus, who bear the famous name” (4), and refers to his subjects as “my children” (9). Oedipus elevates himself to a god-like standing, as even a priest comes to seek help from. The dynamics in this situation reveal that he places himself above everyone, which ultimately leads to his downfall. However, Oedipus is elevated in a more transcendental way at the end of the novel as he takes in genuine concern for his children and Thebes as opposed to the self-absorbed Oedipus seen throughout the course of the novel. No longer is the focus on his power and whether he is the plague of Thebes or not, but he takes action for his people. He exiles himself by saying, “Let me purge my father’s Thebes of the pollution” (77), marking his heroism and maintaining his promise that he would rid Thebes of plague at any cost. He shows concern for his family by saying, “Take care of [my daughter], Creon; do this for me” (77). By pleading for pity upon his children and ensuring that they’re protected after he leaves, he shows a gain in empathy and consciousness uncharacteristic of him in earlier scenes. His transition from self-inflation to self-actualization shows the meditation that is achieved through blindness. Oedipus Rex leaves off with the note “let none presume on his good fortune until he find life, at his death, a memory without pain” (81). This final quote suggests good fortune cannot be determined until one can reflect on life without regrets or pain. Although Oedipus faces decline in

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