Sight and Blindness in Oedipus Rex

Topics: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Sophocles Pages: 4 (1305 words) Published: December 14, 2005
In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the themes of sight and blindness are developed in a way to communicate to the reader that it is not eyesight itself, but insight that holds the key to truth and, without it, no amount of knowledge can help uncover that truth. Some may define insight as the ability to intuitively know what is going to happen, or simply as the capacity to understand the true nature of a situation. Both definitions hold a significant role in the play, not only for more obvious characters such as Oedipus and Teiresias, but also for Iocaste, whose true character is rather questionable considering her reactions to the events of the play, however, one can only speculate. With these themes in mind, one can see how Sophocles portrays each character to suit these themes and communicate his own definition of the term "sight."

When Oedipus calls on Teiresias to reveal the identity of King Laios' killer, Teiresias reveals the murderer is Oedipus and Oedipus himself reacts in anger, rage, and denial. The chorus as well as Oedipus himself refuses to believe this, understandably. Instead of assessing the situation with level-headedness and a clear mind open to all possibilities, his anger blinds him as to what truly could have happened and, in his rage, he accuses both Creon and Teiresias of plotting against him.Oedipus was blinded from the start, ignorant to his true origins, thus, causing him to trigger the unavoidable chain of events that would lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy. He could not have made a conscious, well-informed decision on how to avoid the prophecy because he lacked the insight to do so. However, even if he had known beforehand, fate itself is unavoidable, rendering insight useless. The irony here lies within the themes of sight and blindness when applied to Teiresias in comparison to Oedipus. Oedipus, with both his eyes, as well as his knowledge and comprehensive skills, could not see the true nature of his actions in killing...
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