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Portrayal of blindness in The Outsider and Oedipus the King

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  • Essay length: 1073 words
  • Submitted: 05/10/2005
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AS and A Level Classics

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Portrayal of blindness in The Outsider and Oedipus the King

A primitive motif in Oedipus the King by Sophocles and The Outsider by Albert Camus is blindness. The protagonists in the novels are blinded to a personal truth, and are physically blinded as well. In The Outsider, Meursault's blindness is metaphorical, as he is negligent to his own absurdity, which he later becomes categorized as. On the other hand, Oedipus's blindness is literal, as he is ignorant to the truth of his life; and the fact that he is incapable of escaping the destiny that the Gods have set out for him, which resulted in him gorging his eyes out. The characters suffer an emotional and physical blindness, which leads to tragic irony in Oedipus the King and existential irony in The Outsider. In both the novels, it is only towards the end that the two protagonists release themselves from their crudeness of the truth.

The blindness that overcomes Meursault and Oedipus prevents them from seeing and understanding the lives that they are living. In Meursault's case, he oblivious to his own absurdity, as he only comes to terms with this ideology towards

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