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King Oedipus Rex By Sophocles Essay

1124 words - 4 pages

Winston Churchill once said “It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.” Throughout the story of Oedipus Rex we see continuing theme of sight and blindness, not only in a physical aspect but in a more universal theme of trying to see and navigate one’s own destiny. King Oedipus Rex is a man that has be told of his future of killing his father and sleeping with his mother. In “seeing” this he makes an attempt to change what he thinks is true, when in reality he knows nothing and his blindness to this inevitably succumbs him to what is foretold. Through the story we find that Oedipus is not only blind to what is happening around him but also to the ambition of finding King Laius’s killer and also his own involvement in it.
Sophocles plays with blindness and sight very vividly throughout the story line. The stories first irony starts with the character of Teiresias, a blind prophet that predicts the future. The prophet knows of what is to come and is pressured into telling the truth to Oedipus. Upon finding this out that he himself killed King Laius, Oedipus is outraged and thinks of the prophet a blind fool whose other senses are as mute as his sight. “You sightless, witless, senseless, mad old man.” (Davis 911). It is later revealed that not only Oedipus but all characters in the play with sight are blind to the truth until the end. Thinking that Creon (the queen’s brother) is behind what the prophets is saying, Oedipus blind to Creon’s friendship and loyalty persecutes him wanting to put him to death. It is not until Queen Iodate breaks up the fight does Oedipus back down. Oedipus remembers he did kill a few people in a similar situation as the one King Laius died in but did not know who they were nor felt they were of any importance since there where only a few people in the caravan he attacked. This overwhelming realization blinds him yet again to what is really happening as he searches for the way King Laius died. This quest for the killer now turns to a search to clear his own name as Oedipus slowly puts the pieces together of what his involvement really is in this plot. He continues to hide and deny the fact he could have any involvement because he ran from his father and mother in order to stop the foretold prophecy.
Next we see the blindness of truth from Iodate through what a servant told her had happened to King Laius. Because her servant had told her there were a number of highway marauders that over took the king and Oedipus had acted alone the day he killed those people both the Queen and Oedipus felt confident that it was not him who took the king life. Iodate lets down her guard and tells the story of the child she had with King Laius and of the prophecy that came with it, how her first son would kill his father. Being blind to the fact that both Iodate’s story and Oedipus’s story are closely related, they feel that the servant’s story shows they have no involvement...

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