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Qedipus. A Blind King Essay

1562 words - 6 pages

Blindness can normally be defined as the inability of the eye to see, but according to this play, blindness is not always a physical quality, but a mental flaw some people posses. The author uses physical blindness, as well as intellectual blindness to illustrate Oedipus' status as a tragic hero. Throughout the play, blindness is seen as a main theme, where Sophocles explored not only physical blindness, but also intellectual blindness. The theme of blindness is split into two main categories, where one is the ability to see, while the other is the willingness to see. Oedipus, who sets out to rescue the city of Thebes by bringing the killer of Laius to justice, becomes the victim of fate where whatever choice he makes seems to be the wrong one. From this, the question of whether or not Oedipus' blindness of the truth was what ultimately destroyed him is one that can be answered with many opinions, as it all depends on how the reader perceived the play.

The most obvious form of blindness that Oedipus initially undertook was that of being mentally blind. It is clear to the reader from the beginning of the play that Oedipus only sees what he wants to see. Oedipus is quick to blame Creon for the plague on the city of Thebes, as he assumes that Creon, along with Teiresias, is plotting against him, in order to strip him from his crown. Oedipus worries too much about his position as being the king of Thebes, as he does not realize his mental blindness of the truth. He refuses to look at his own past, where instead he goes and blames others for his own crimes. Oedipus knows that he had killed man/men in the past but due to his blindness, refuses to accept the possibility that just maybe, that man could have been his father. The fact that Oedipus married Jocasta, his own mother, shows us the level of mental blindness Oedipus has been exposed to as any normal human being would have seen this as a "sick" act. Teiresias, a blind prophet, re-enforces Oedipus' mental blindness a number of times where he stated, "you are the cursed polluter of this land" (line353). Teiresias himself is blind, yet he can see the truth, as he can see into the future. Proof that shows us that Teiresias is a man of his word is when he stated, "Your mothers and fathers curse, shall sweep you out of this land. Those now clear seeing eyes shall be darkened" (lines 417-419). These words made Oedipus extremely angry where he retaliated against Teiresias by calling him names and ordering him to get out of his sight. Teiresias makes a final statement, "When you can prove me wrong, then call me blind" (line 513), where he leaves Oedipus in a state of confusion. Oedipus goes through a series of emotions where he believes that he is being plotted against and starts to become defensive about the accusations that have been said to his name.

The other form of blindness that Oedipus had come to experience was that of physical blindness. When the truth had come out about Oedipus' past, his...

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