Sight vs. Blindness
In the play Oedipus Rex, the person who truly sees is Tiresias. Although Oedipus can see in real life, Tiresias is the one who has insight. In episode one, Oedipus has a conversation with Tiresias revealing that Tiresias’ prophecies come true. Also, during the story, there is irony because Oedipus is searching for the murderer of Laius; what Oedipus does not know is that he is the killer, and he is only looking for himself. Tiresias sees past the lies of Oedipus’ actions and knows the real truth. For example, Tiresias tells Oedipus that he has become extremely evil and cruel without realizing it: “I say that you secretly have lived most foully with those who should be most dear, nor do you see to what extent of evil you have come” (lines 380-382). This quote shows that Tiresias knows about Oedipus’ bad behaviors and can see beyond the happy and selfless front Oedipus puts towards his fellow citizens. Oedipus also puts on a generous front but in reality, he is all out for himself: “Engaging this craftily-working wizard, this tricky beggar, who sees clearly only for profit, but is blind when it comes to skill” (lines 402-404). Even though Oedipus says these things to Tiresias, Oedipus still has some of these qualities. Oedipus was the only person who could defeat the sphinx to save everyone but he still did it partly for himself. Tiresias knows the real truth about Oedipus’ past actions and current curses: “I will reply, since you reproach me as blind: even though you see clearly, do not see the scope of your evil, nor where you live, nor with whom you dwell” (lines 428-431). Tiresias knows that Oedipus killed Laius and that Oedipus married his mother unwittingly. Tiresias is the person with the real gift of sight. Even though Oedipus can see in real life, he is blinded from the real truth.
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