Oedipus: Concepts of Sight

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The concept of sight is one of the major motifs throughout Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King. The play revolves primarily around series of events caused by many people’s insight or lack there of. Oedipus does not see that he is caught up in a web of cruel destiny that he can not escape. The gods demonstrate foresight and insight into the play. In addition to this, Tiresias has physical blindness but also has prophetic insight. Finally, both Oedipus and Jocasta portray types of mental blindness and shortsightedness. These are all examples of different uses of sight in the play Oedipus the King. Oedipus is a hero, but sometimes he can not see the reality of this. He goes into states where he lacks mental insight, making rash decisions without thinking about the future or consequences. One of his biggest downfalls because of this shortsightedness is that he does not realize that his destiny is solely in the hands of the gods. After Oedipus is told as a young boy about the prophecy of his life, he can not “see” how he is destined to marry his mother and kill his father. Furthermore, because of his lack of insight he truly believes that he can move without the Oracle’s prophecy following him. No matter what Oedipus does, he has no control over what the gods have predetermined. The gods also punish the people of Thebes with hard times since it is these people who brought Oedipus into the land as their king. The gods do this in order to make the people see through Oedipus’ extreme pride and quick temper. The gods apparently think that the only way to get them to see what Oedipus has done is by causing the city pain and suffering. The gods use their insight to affect Oedipus’ life, family and city. Although the gods do not initially favor Oedipus, his kingdom sees him as a noble ruler. Oedipus’ pride prevents him from seeing the truth and this leads to his great fall. His pride forces him to kill his father

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