10th Grade, English
Sight or Blindness?
Throughout the play, Oedipus Rex, Sophocles makes several references about sight and blindness. Even though Tiresias is a blind man, he is the one that knows the truth and is insinuating that Oedipus doesn’t want to face it. Oedipus develops into a character blinded by all the greatness that Thebes has given him. The oracle prophesized by the gods is the main reason that led him to become the tragic hero of this play.
First and foremost, Sophocles’ contrast between seeing and blindness creates some irony showed throughout the play. The use of the irony juxtaposes Oedipus’ physical capabilities of being literally able to see and Tiresias’ blindness; however in the philosophical point of view, Tiresias is considered wise and the one who can see the truth. While Tiresias is aware of what is going on around him, Oedipus is blinded by the power that was attributed to him of being the savior of Thebes. With his confident posture, Oedipus misleads himself, thinking that he is not going to be affected by the prophecies anymore. In other words, when Oedipus arrives in Thebes, he believes that he has found himself a safe place where the oracles’ prophesies won’t apply. Possibly, the gods unfairly deceive Oedipus into believing in a brighter future so he will be more cursed by the darkness in the end. Conversely, the Leader tells Oedipus that “The truth lives inside him, him alone” (339), referring to Tiresias. This quote indicates the wisdom and knowledge that were contrasted to Oedipus’ naivety. By mentioning that Tiresias is the one who is aware of the prophecies, the Leader is helping and warning Oedipus that Tiresias will be the guide to the truth. Likewise, Sophocles demonstrates that whatever might happen later in the play, the truth will always remain with Tiresias. Even if Tiresias holds the real facts within himself, Oedipus still will never believe in such terrible oracles, which leaves “him (Tiresias) alone”...
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