Theme of Blindness
Sophocles was a prolific writer and his long life enabled him to have a prodigious literary output. There is always a deep philosophic content at the back of Sophocles’ plays. Men suffer in the tragedies of Sophocles, characterisation always charged with emotion and poetry guesstimates the growth and development of his dramatic genius. One of the main underlying themes in Oedipus Rex is blindness. Not just physical blindness, but intellectual blindness as well. The blindness issue is an effective contrasting method for Oedipus at different points in the play. Simply saying "blindness", however, is a little ambiguous. It can be broken down into two components: Oedipus's ability to "see" (ignorance or lack thereof), and his willingness to "see". The word "see" can be used in both contexts here. Throughout the play, these two components are always at the center of the action. Author Samuel Butler once wrote,
"A blind man knows he cannot see, and is glad to be led, though it be by a dog; but he that is blind in his understanding, which is the worst blindness of all, believes he sees as the best, and scorns a guide."
Even people that have great vision and can literally "see," can still be "blind" to truth and complete understanding of it. Throughout the tragedy Oedipus the King, Sophocles' repeatedly bring up the idea of sight and uses it as a metaphor for insight and knowledge. The protagonist of the play, Oedipus, is "blind" to the fact that the fate that he had tried so hard to avoid, had come true without him knowing of it, while the physically blind prophet Tiresias was the one who can actually "see" and understand the truth and the actions that had already occurred. When Oedipus was just a baby he was taken away from Thebes to be left on a barren mountain to die after an oracle had told his father Laius,
"that doom would strike him down at the hands of a son"
The shepherd who was instructed to kill baby Oedipus, felt sorry for...
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