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A detailed study of 'Oedipus Rex'

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IB English A1 Higher Level World Literature Paper I A Detailed Study of Oedipus Rex By Yakir Starosta Candidate # 00974 001 The American International School of Bucharest Mr. R Lamirand April 29, 2009. Word Count: 1,408 While Sophocles includes physical blindness in his play 'Oedipus Rex', he also uses it as a symbol of one's ignorance of underlying the truth. In The beginning of the play, Oedipus was rationally blind of the truth, he was trying to find out about it but he wasn't able to. Later on, Oedipus finds out all the truth about his childhood and himself, realizing that he was blind. Then Oedipus punishes himself ruthlessly by stabbing his eyes out with two pins making him physically blind. Both Literal and figurative references to sight and blindness are shown throughout Oedipus Rex. Blindness is used as a metaphor in the play which relates to no clear vision of knowledge. It is the main theme that develops and creates action and tension throughout the play. This theme also relates to the theme of 'The Willingness to Ignore the Truth'. As Oedipus finds out that he was the one that actually murdered Lauis, he decides to ignore the truth in the beginning even though he was undertaking the quest of finding all about it. After finding out about the past, Oedipus does not want to speak the truth as he knows that it will affect his everyday life. ...read more.


Even though Oedipus could literally see, he still was not able to realize the truth about his life. Oedipus learns the truth about his past and fate from a man that is physically blind which is very ironic. He can see everything around him but he yet decides to ignore everything that concerns his past even though he wants to see and know about it. Oedipus demands other people to tell him exactly what they know and they confront him with the shocking and dreadful truths about his past, his origins and the unintended and accidental crime that he committed and was blinded about until he found out from Tiresias that he is the actual criminal that he is looking for which is ironic. Creon also tells Oedipus about the truth but Oedipus thinks that he is lying and he is just trying to take his throne and make sure that he dies "Do you think that I do not know that you plotted to kill me, plotted to steal my throne" (Sophocles 28). Jocasta wants Oedpus to stop searching for the truth as she knows that the truth will cause him pain "For God's love, let us have no more questioning! Is your life nothing o you? My own is pain enough for me to bear." (Sophocles 56) Jocasta is already in pain and she knows the truth about Oedipus. ...read more.


In his speech he is trying to say that even the most powerful men fall apart or have bad luck and that all humans will suffer and have pain in their lives as they are subjected to. He is trying to explain that everyone is blind to certain things and no one should think about good destiny and fate. Anyone, including the greatest people will suffer and experience pain in their life when they least expect it. Sophicles focuses mainly on the theme of 'blindness' in his play Oedipus Rex. Irony is created throughout the whole play due to the two types of blindness that are used and contrasted, physical and figurative. Many people in the world nowadays are blind to their past because of certain events that have affected them. Some of these people don't know the effect that these events have on them and think that if they actually quest and seek out the truths of their past and those certain events, it will lead them to a more fulfilled life. Oedipus was physically and mentally blind and he understood and felt how it is to suffer from pain. He couldn't get away from his bad luck and misfortune which ended up being his fate. In conclusion, what someone sees is not always the truth. Oedipus became blind and learned how to understand and look at the world in different ways without seeing and observing the obvious. Citation Sophocles, Oedipus Rex. Florida: Cornelia Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald, 1977. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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