Blindness in Oedipus
Oedipus thought his life was great. Feeling powerful and almighty, Oedipus was wonderful at solving riddles, but did not like the answer to the riddle of who he really was. Although many told him to stop trying to figure out the answer, it was not in his nature to give up. Oedipus thought he could see everything, but he was actually blind of the truth about his life until the end.
In the beginning, Oedipus is told by Teiresias that he lives in shame. Of course, Oedipus feels that Teiresias is blind of not only sight, but knowledge:
The truth is strong, but not your truth.
You have no truth. You're blind.
Blind in your eyes. Blind in your ears. Blind in your mind. (502-504)
Oedipus thinks he is above everyone, so what Teiresias told him could not have been true. He accuses Teiresias of not only being "blind" in the eyes, but "blind" in the mind, when the fact is that Oedipus is exactly what he is accusing Teiresias of being, except for the fact that he can see with his eyes. This situation is ironic because the blind prophet can see more clearly than the powerful Oedipus.
After Teiresias' wisdom is insulted by Oedipus, he confronts Oedipus of living his life in shame:
You insulted me. You mocked me. You called me blind.
Now hear me speak, Oedipus.
You have eyes to see with,
but you do not see yourself, you do not see
the horror shadowing every step of your life,
the blind shame in which you live and who lives with you,
lives always at your side.
Teiresias is trying to tell Oedipus that he is "blind" about himself. He thinks he "sees" who he really is, when actually he has no idea. Oedipus does not know the fate of his life. When asked if he knew who his parents were, Oedipus did not understand what Teiresias was trying to tell him. Oedipus thought Teiresias to be blind with "twisted words", when actually Oedipus was the blind one. Oedipus had eye sight but not insight, which is far...
Cited: Kilborne, Benjamin. American Journal of Psychoanalysis. New York: Dec 2003.
Vol. 63, Iss. 4; 289.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Stephen Berg and Diskin Clay. Literature of the
Western World: The Ancient World through the Renaissance. Vol. I. 5th ed.
Eds. Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Prentice-Hall,
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