Essay on Sight and Blindness in Oedipus Rex

1311 WordsDec 23, 20056 Pages
In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the themes of sight and blindness are developed in a way to communicate to the reader that it is not eyesight itself, but insight that holds the key to truth and, without it, no amount of knowledge can help uncover that truth. Some may define insight as the ability to intuitively know what is going to happen, or simply as the capacity to understand the true nature of a situation. Both definitions hold a significant role in the play, not only for more obvious characters such as Oedipus and Teiresias, but also for Iocaste, whose true character is rather questionable considering her reactions to the events of the play, however, one can only speculate. With these themes in mind, one can see how Sophocles…show more content…
Teiresias, however, with no eyes to see with, sees most clearly and knows the truth about Oedipus' past, supporting the idea that sight, in the literal sense, holds little significance in the genre of greek tragedy, and cannot, alone and without insight and the open-mindedness to truly consider the many possibilities, understand the truth. There are also certain perculiarities in the process in which Iocaste and Oedipus uncover Oedipus' past. Why is it that both Iocaste and oedipus initially fail to recognize the similarities between the prophect given to Laios and that which was given to Oedipus himself? Also, why is it that Oedipus does not recall the marks on his ankles after hearing Iocaste describe how she had her child's ankles bound before he was left to die on Kathairon? Though these questions cannot be answered definitively given the text, I interpreted their failure to make these connections as a representaion of their desperation and denial of the truth. It seems as if they both had unconsciously chosen not to recognize these clues and use them to make the connections to the facts to discover the truth. In doing so they blinded themselves, putting covers in front of their eyes to further delay Oedipus' fate. This sort of delay can also be seen in Iocaste's reaction when the messenger from Corinth reveals more about Oedipus' past. She reacts saying: "For God's love, let
Open Document