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Oedipus And Blindness Essay

1892 words - 8 pages

R Raimey
28 November 2011
In the dictionary, blindness is defined as unable to see; lacking the sense of sight; but the second definition of blindness is defined as, unwilling or unable to perceive or understand. As read in the play, blindness is seen as a central theme. Not speaking of only physical blindness, but blindness as to understanding what’s in front of Oedipus. His flaws and the exposure of the truth bring about his downfall. Since he is of high rank, he believes things he wants to believe. In the play titled, “Oedipus the King,” by Sophocles, he uses physical blindness and mental blindness to show Oedipus' status as an unfortunate hero.
While Oedipus is trying to find Laius’ ...view middle of the document...

While Oedipus is desperate to know who his mother and father are, the prophet knows and sadly so does his wife, but he is still in the dark.
As far as Oedipus knows about his immediate family, his father and his mother are Polybus and Merope, but before Tiresias leaves he says to Oedipus, “Revealed at last, brother and father both to the children he embraces, to his mother son and husband both – he sowed the loins his father sowed, he spilled his father’s blood (630)!” This is a riddle for Oedipus to solve, but it is also an easy one to solve, if he would have listened to Tiresias’ words closely, but his anger took over him. Oedipus should have figured the riddle out then and there. When Tiresias says, “… brother and father both to the children he embraces,” he blatantly tells Oedipus that his children are his siblings, and when he says, “… to his mother son and husband both,” he blatantly means that Oedipus is married to his mother, and when he says, “… he spilled his father’s blood,” he means that Oedipus killed his father (630). It was the simplest of all riddles, and Oedipus failed to solve it at that moment. With the first part of the riddle, he would have figured out the entire riddle, because if he is the brother of his children, then that would make Jocasta out to be his mother also. Due to the amount of power he has in Thebes, he thinks he is better than everyone, and he thinks he cannot suffer. His arrogance fails him to take a good look at the people that surrounds him. All in all, Oedipus’ prophecy is in full effect and he does not cease to understand it.
Later on in the play Oedipus has a hunch on who his father is when he has a conversation with Jocasta. She tells Oedipus about a prophecy who declared Laius would be murdered by his own son. With that said, she continued to tell him all about the circumstances of Laius’ murder. When she says “[Laius] was killed by strangers, thieves, at a place where three roads meet (636),” Oedipus knows that he killed an old man in that same spot, around the same time frame, and he also knows the prophecy told him that he would kill his father. When Oedipus asks Jocasta to explain the way Laius looked the day he was murdered she explained him as “… swarthy, and the gray had just begun to streak his temples, and his build… wasn’t far from [Oedipus’] (637).” At this point, Oedipus seems to be solving the riddle little by little, but he does not want to accept the fact that he is the murderer. Oedipus thinks too highly of himself to believe that he could be so terrible as to murder his own father and commit incest with his mother. It all makes sense. Laius had a prophecy that his son would kill him, and Oedipus had the same that he would kill his father. He thinks his father is Polybus, but in reality his father is Laius. What he thinks he is running from, he already ran into it; and with that he kills his own flesh and blood without knowing. Although Oedipus does not see what’s in front of him,...

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