Oedipus Rex: Imagery of Blindness and Sight as a Medium to the Themes

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In the play, Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, an honourable and admirable Greek king named Oedipus rules the town of Thebes. He is left in mental turmoil and decay as his unknown, corrupt and immoral past is slowly revealed during his quest to find the culprit who murdered King Laius. The newly exposed past suddenly transforms his glory and respect into shame and humiliation. After he learns about his wicked past he stabs his eyes, which lead to his blindness. During the course of the play, references to blindness and vision constantly recur, giving the reader an enhanced and more insightful look into the themes of the play. Some themes that are expressed through these references include truth and knowledge, guilt, and freewill versus …show more content…

This pushes him to an extreme emotional limit because it represents that his entire life had been a lie and his former noble existence was all false. His desperate attempt to free himself from the world and from knowledge expresses a universal idea that humans are still unknowing and insignificant when compared to the greater spectrum of life. This relates to the theme because it shows that even though the search and curiosity of knowledge is natural, transgressing the limits can be dangerous because sometimes knowledge can be too much of a burden for humankind to handle, however inevitable, necessary, and inescapable it may be.
Another aspect of the theme that was observed through references of blindness and sight is guilt and disgrace. From the beginning of the play, Sophocles establishes the theme of guilt which can be seen throughout the play, as Oedipus tries to find the person who was guilty for the murder of King Laius. His search to find the guilty individual leads him to the truth which is that he murdered King Laius, who was his father, and that he married his mother Jocaste. After finding this out, he enters an epiphany of guilt and shame as he recognizes this morbid fact. He says after blinding himself “If I had eyes, I do not know how I could bear the sight of my father, when I came to the house of Death,

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