Oedipus Rex: Imagery Of Blindness And Sight As A Medium To The Themes

1277 words - 5 pages

In the play, Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, an honourable and admirable Greek king named Oedipus rules the town of Thebes. He is left in mental turmoil and decay as his unknown, corrupt and immoral past is slowly revealed during his quest to find the culprit who murdered King Laius. The newly exposed past suddenly transforms his glory and respect into shame and humiliation. After he learns about his wicked past he stabs his eyes, which lead to his blindness. During the course of the play, references to blindness and vision constantly recur, giving the reader an enhanced and more insightful look into the themes of the play. Some themes that are expressed through these references include truth and knowledge, guilt, and freewill versus fate.

Throughout the play Sophocles constructs imagery based upon blindness and sight which embodies the prominent theme of the search for knowledge and truth in the play. Oedipus first innocently and honourably tries to find out the truth about the murdered king Laius, but the truth tortures him as he finds out that he was married to his mother, and had murdered his own father King Laius. After the reality and truth becomes apparent he blinds himself, because he was unable to cope with such sordid knowledge. Oedipus says that ``How could I bear to see when all my sight was horror everywhere. `` (Line 1308) This shows that even though he tried to be knowledgeable and seek out the truth, in the end he was unable to endure it. The act of blinding himself is symbolic because it is his way of escaping the true reality which he seeks to find. It also conveys the idea that he is giving up on his search for knowledge, because as agreed by many philosophers, the vision is the sense in which most of our worldly knowledge is gained. The audience is able to sympathize with Oedipus because the shocking revelation has brought him from a heroic and virtuous status into a position of nothing more than an ill-fated criminal through the perspective of society. This pushes him to an extreme emotional limit because it represents that his entire life had been a lie and his former noble existence was all false. His desperate attempt to free himself from the world and from knowledge expresses a universal idea that humans are still unknowing and insignificant when compared to the greater spectrum of life. This relates to the theme because it shows that even though the search and curiosity of knowledge is natural, transgressing the limits can be dangerous because sometimes knowledge can be too much of a burden for humankind to handle, however inevitable, necessary, and inescapable it may be.
Another aspect of the theme that was observed through references of blindness and sight is guilt and disgrace. From the beginning of the play, Sophocles establishes the theme of guilt which can be seen throughout the play, as Oedipus tries to find the person who was guilty for the murder of King Laius. His search to find the guilty individual...

Find Another Essay On Oedipus Rex: Imagery of Blindness and Sight as a Medium to the Themes

Oedipus Rex: Sight Not Needed For Knowledge

807 words - 3 pages thesis since he has limited knowledge despite his sight. The third and best character that can be used to prove the thesis is Oedipus. During the majority of his life he has sight, but it grants him very little insight into the consequences of his actions. But later on in his life when he loses his sight, he then has complete knowledge of his actions. As Teiresias, when accused of blindness as a root of ignorance, said, “But I say that you, with

Oedipus Rex is filled with many moral themes that question the ideas of sin, guilt, and destiny

979 words - 4 pages Oedipus RexSophocles was a play writer who began writing at a very young age; by the end of his life the number of plays totaled over 120. Sophocles died in 406 BC and seven of his plays have survived in their entirety. One of the seven plays that has made the journey from past to present is Oedipus Rex. Thought to be one of Sophocles greatest works, Oedipus Rex is filled with many moral themes that question the ideas of sin, guilt, and

Themes in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

673 words - 3 pages the ability to be ruler of Thebes and gets to marry Jocasta, his mother. In the end, Jocasta kills herself, and Oedipus makes himself blind. Some themes in Oedipus Rex are; to think before acting on something, to not be selfish or ignorant, and sight versus blindness. An important theme in Oedipus Rex is to think before acting on something. The main character Oedipus says, “It is endurable that I should hear such words from him? Go and a curse

Sight And Blindess Of Oedipus The King

1449 words - 6 pages city. The Sphinx asks him the riddle and he simply replies, "Man." The stranger solves the riddle and the Sphinx throws herself to her death. The city opens up to him, he marries the widowed queen, becomes king of Thebes, and unwillingly begins to fulfill most of the prophecy. What is the meaning of sight and blindness for an understanding of Oedipus the King? But the reason Oedipus, who is the prince of Corinth, has come to Thebes, is to

Oedipus Rex As A Great Tragedy

630 words - 3 pages piece of writing because it exemplifies these qualities described in Aristotle's Poetics.In Poetics, Aristotle described tragedy to be an imitation of events that is "serious and complete, and of a certain magnitude." The reader can clearly see these qualities in Oedipus Rex. The play is unquestionably serious, as it deals with the theme of plague, "hateful plague, he hounds the city," and incest, "my own mother's husband." It is also complete as

The Theme of Oedipus Rex

913 words - 4 pages In Greek mythology, one of the major themes is the importance of fate and free will. The story of Oedipus Rex is a perfect example that shows this theme. The major theme explored in Oedipus Rex is that fate and free will are intertwined with the main character, Oedipus. Oedipus is not only fated to perform such detestable acts, but his infamous behavior (which leads him to commit these terrible acts) determines his fate. The crimes that he

Comparing the Strategy of a Runner with that of King Oedipus of Oedipus Rex and Creon of Antigone

2089 words - 8 pages Comparing the Strategy of a Runner with that of King Oedipus of Oedipus Rex and Creon of Antigone A runner must use a strategy that is specific to that style of racing. If a distance runner attempts to apply pacing to a short sprint he has lost the race before approaching the start. Although racing strategies differ between every individual race it is possible to associate some basic strategies used in particular types of

Horace Warpole’s The Castle of Otranto Compared to Oedipus Rex

1924 words - 8 pages at a convent. Prophecy, incest, irony, usurpation, dethroning, and murder are some of the themes that appear in both Horace Warpole’s The Castle of Otranto and Oedipus The King by Sophocles. The Castle of Otranto opens with the death of Conrad, the male heir and son of Prince Manfred, and thus begins Manfred’s blind tyranny to attempt to keep the throne. Within this narrative there are echoes and direct parallels to the story Oedipus The King

The Role of Faith and the Gods in Oedipus Rex

1947 words - 8 pages trait of free will is seen through the actions Oedipus decides to take as a result of his personality. The philosophical position Sophocles takes in Oedipus Rex is shown through the depiction of the role of fate versus the role of free will. Sophocles takes a character, Oedipus, who possesses significant arrogance as a leader, and humbles him through the fulfillment of his fate. By being subjected to the fate defined by the gods, and given by the

Choice of blindness in "Oedipus the King"

353 words - 2 pages The concept of sight is one of the major motifs throughout Sophocles' play Oedipus the King. The play revolves primarily around series of events caused by many people's insight or lack there of. Oedipus does not see that he is caught up in a web of cruel destiny that he cannot escape. Tiresias, one of Apollo's prophets who happened to be blind, was the one who was sent to tell Oedipus his fate. Throughout the play, Oedipus retaliated to the

tragoed Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) as Ideal Tragic Hero

1267 words - 5 pages Oedipus Rex as the Ideal Tragic Hero If we give ourselves up to a full sympathy with the hero, there is no question that the Oedipus Rex fulfills the function of a tragedy, and arouses fear and pity in the highest degree. But the modern reader, coming to the classic drama not entirely for the purpose of enjoyment, will not always surrender himself to the emotional effect. He is apt to worry about Greek fatalism and the justice of the

Similar Essays

Sight And Blindness In Oedipus Rex

759 words - 3 pages Sight and Blindness in Oedipus Rex Oedipus Rex is a play about the way we blind ourselves to painful truths that we can’t bear to see. Physical sight and blindness are used throughout the play, often ironically, as a metaphor for mental sight and blindness. The play ends with the hero Oedipus literally blinding himself to avoid seeing the result of his terrible fate. But as the play demonstrates, Oedipus, the man who killed his father

Blindness And Sight Sight Versus Insight In Oedipus The King (Oedipus Rex)

1381 words - 6 pages makes his present state seem all the more calamitous. Oedipus exclaims in anguish, "For why was I to see/ when nothing I could see would bring me joy?" (1344-1345). Yet, this suffering results in a paradoxical triumph as Oedipus finally examines himself. He physically puts out his eyes as a symbolic act, showing that he is freed from his former blindness and the darkness of the outer world. Through Oedipus' perseverence and resilience, the "pain

Blindness And Sight Lack Of Vision In Oedipus The King

928 words - 4 pages Blindness in Oedipus The King (Rex) What is sight? Is it just the ability to recognize one’s surroundings or is there more? Is it knowledge? Is it understanding? Can a blind man see? Can the sighted be blind? And beyond, when the truth is too terrible, do we choose not to see? The phrase "too see" has so very many connotations. One meaning is to know or to understand and the other is based on the physical aspects of things. As humans, we

Blindness, Sight And Eyes In Sophocles' Oedipus The King

680 words - 3 pages The Deeper Meaning of Sight and Eyes in Sophocles' Oedipus The King In Sophocles' play, "Oedipus The King," the continuous references to eyes and sight possess a much deeper meaning than the literal message. These allusions are united with several basic underlying themes. The story contains common Ancient Greek philosophies, including those of Plato and Parmenides, which are often discussed and explained during such references. A third