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Oedipus Rex: Sight Not Needed For Knowledge

807 words - 3 pages

When we consider a blind person and a person with eyes, we usually deem the latter to be more knowledgeable. This is because they have the gift of sight and can therefore perceive the world around them and have more knowledge. This assumption is proven wrong in the play Oedipus Rex by the Greek writer Sophocles. The plot is about a baby who is born to the king and queen of Thebes with a terrible prophecy hanging above his head. The oracle of Apollo had predicted that the boy would grow up to kill his father and marry his mother. Afraid of the prophecy, the parents decided to kill the boy. But, he survives and lives to fulfill the prophecy. The main part of the play is his quest for his identity and what he does when he learns the truth about his life. The thesis of the play is that sight is not a prerequisite for knowledge. Three characters from the play that can be used to prove the thesis are Teiresias, the shepherd, and Oedipus.
Teiresias, a blind clairvoyant, is ideal for proving the thesis. Even though he is blind, when brought to the palace on Oedipus’s request, he shows that he has full knowledge of the entire situation. He says, “Your parents thought me sane enough” (423). He reveals that he knows who Oedipus’s real parents are. Teiresias also openly states that he knows of the horrendous deed that Oedipus committed at the crossroads when he says, “I say that you are the murderer whom you seek” (347). And the final quote, “Whether I speak or not, it is bound to come” (327). This shows that Teiresias is aware of the final part of the puzzle: what will happen to Oedipus when he finds out the truth about the sins he committed unknowingly. This proves the thesis that sight is not a prerequisite for knowledge.
The second character that can be used to prove the thesis is the shepherd. He has sight yet limited knowledge. However, that his piece of knowledge is very valuable due to the fact that it is the piece that everyone is missing. At first, he does not want to disclose his knowledge, but after pressure from Oedipus, he begins to reveal it. He says, “…I gave him the boy” (1096). Therefore, we know that he was the man who was trusted by the king and queen...

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