• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Sight Vs. Blindness in Oedipus: A Battle of Figurative and Literal Proportions

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Lindsay Mitchell October 18, 2002 Mrs. Holladay AP English Sight Vs. Blindness in Oedipus: A Battle of Figurative and Literal Proportions Sight versus blindness is one of several major themes present in the play Oedipus Rex. Oedipus, Iocasta, and Teiresias are characters in the play who represent sight or blindness or a combination of both. While the most obvious example of sight versus blindness lies in the actual vision of the characters, their inability to "see" the truths around them also fits the theme. The figurative and literal sight or blindness of Oedipus, Iocasta, and Teiresias demonstrates their character strengths and weaknesses throughout the play as the theme is further developed. At the beginning of the play, Oedipus is both figuratively and literally able to see. He has vision and at the same time, he is able to see, or recognize the answer to the Sphinx's riddle. Using his sight to his advantage, Oedipus is able to lift the plague from Thebes and become the ruler of the Thebans. ...read more.

Middle

At the same time, both Oedipus and Iocasta are blind to the truth of their relationship. In an attempt to convince Oedipus "that the prophetic art/ Touches our human fortunes not at all" (708-709), Iocasta relates the tale of the prophecy made about her son. Even after this story, both Oedipus and Iocasta do not yet see that they are related not only through marriage, but also through blood. Their continued inability to see the nature of their relationship proves that they are both weak and incompetent of admitting the obvious truths around them. The previous strength demonstrated in Oedipus' ability to see, is overpowered by the weakness present in his blinded view of the truths around him. Therefore, figurative blindness is a weakness in these characters because they purposely seek to avoid reality. The presence of the wise, but literally blind Teiresias proves that physical blindness can be a strength. Although Teiresias is wise by definition because he is an oracle, his wisdom is so much more. ...read more.

Conclusion

Additionally, by blinding himself, Oedipus may be trying to emulate the wise Teiresias whose fate could never be equal in suffering to Oedipus'. As a blindman, Oedipus "needs strength, And one to guide him" (1291-1292). He can no longer "Seek...to have [his] way in all things" (1524); he must become humble and accept the "softly but strongly" way of life that Teiresias lives. Therefore, the physically blind Oedipus is strong for he accepts the sins which he previously denied and in the process, transforms his disposition of righteousness into one of humility and interdependence. The play Oedipus Rex proves that both strength and weakness can be found in sight or in blindness. Whether the sight or blindness is figurative or literal does not matter, the potential for good and bad remains the same. Through the victories and defeats of the characters Oedipus, Teiresias, and Iocasta, it is evident that neither blindness nor sight is better; instead, the acknowledgement of truth is the best choice for it leads to a tranquil soul. Mitchell-1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. Discuss the themes of identity explored in "King Oedipus" and "Waiting for Godot".

    could argue the point that Godot may have come today but they did not realize, and give them more reason to wait. They wait in hope because they believe that Godot can ultimately confirm their existence by coming to rescue them from the daily problems they face.

  2. Fate vs Free Will in Oedipus Rex.

    He show his lack of respect towards Tiresias, calling the old oracle a liar upon hearing that he was responsible for Laius' death. Yet, his inability to recognize the fate the constructed his past caused his every action to bring the prophecy closer to a reality.

  1. Arden vs. Freddy - Creative writing.

    game, though the Raptors have a better team, coach, and style of play. Bringing up the basketball Freddy seen using his peripherals that Johan, his almighty coach brought out a sub waiting to substitute him off the court as the clock was diminishing gradually second by second.

  2. Cinderella - play script

    Minerva: Ow!! (Stepmother has been pulling her corset tighter and tighter) Stepmother: ...someone to push me the way you girls do. Some one to sacrifice for me! Minerva: Mother, you're hurting me! Stepmother: Beauty knows no pain girls!!! (regains herself)

  1. An examination of why lines 370- 447 form a key passage in Sophocles' Oedipus ...

    Teiresias's behavior also evokes and hurts the King's hubris. His claim that 'commanding arts outstrip all other arts in life' (380) suggests that by putting down the reliability of the 'prophetic arts', Oedipus tries to mend his hurt pride and praise himself, being the wielder of 'the commanding arts.'

  2. Oedipus the King VS. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" "An Occurrence at Owl ...

    Peyton Farquhar imposes a "temporary reality, the desires of the heart upon the true reality within the swollen moments of his post-mortem consciousness." Throughout the story, Farquhar's fantasy overlooks human possibilities and reality. By the "mixing of the external world of death with Farquhar's internal world, which cries out for

  1. Portrayal of blindness in The Outsider and Oedipus the King

    There were countless references to the sunlight during his mother's funeral and even to his sunstroke to the blazing light of the sun. During the time of the murder of the Arab, the sunlight was also constantly referred to, as he talks about "cymbals of the sunlight".

  2. Fate and Ignorance in Oedipus Rex.

    (Sophocles, 175). Teiresias, in return, gives Oedipus only a handful of vague clues, frustrating Oedipus more. He then blames Creon, accusing him of a conspiracy, "You - here? You have the gall to show your face before the palace gates?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work