English 2H Gold 5
10 October 2010
The Truth: Oedipus’ One Desire
The gaining of knowledge, a human desire with different aftermaths, contains the ability to bring us out of the darkness of ignorance or tear us apart without warning. The hero of Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus the King, is an unfortunate King plagued by his past, suffering the misfortune of ignorance. Oedipus struggles with knowledge and ignorance despite the repercussions that occur when he sees the truth. Disregarding the warnings given by others and blinding himself from his coming downfall by refusing to remain ignorant of his past any longer, Oedipus destroys himself.
Oedipus brings about his fate through his stubbornness and failure to listen to those advising him to end his search for the truth. Oedipus calls out to Tiresias, the blind seer who possesses the knowledge Oedipus seeks: “ Rescue yourself, your city, rescue me --/rescue everything infected by the dead./We are in your hands,” (355-357). However, Tiresias refrains from telling Oedipus anything, advising him not to seek truth any longer: “ How terrible -- to see the truth/when the truth is only pain to him who sees!/I knew it well, but I put it from my mind,/else I never would have come,” (359-362). “The truth hurts”, and this phrase dictates the illustration Sophocles gives the audience. Oedipus might’ve learned the truth earlier and it would have hurt him, yet it would not have led to his ultimate demise if the people he consulted were not so reluctant to reveal the knowledge he sought. In telling him earlier Oedipus would not have been so determined to find the absolute reality of the situation he and the people of Thebes were in, leading to his destruction.
In the face of the forebodings of others, Oedipus still fights for the light of truth which leads him to finding his past, bringing about his downfall. When calling for the messenger to shed light on the truth behind Laius’ death and in...
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