People can be blinded by the truth. In the play, Oedipus the King, there are many references to blindness and sight throughout. Certain characters have physically limited blindness such as the prophet Teiresias, but have the ability to “see” the truth. While other characters such as Oedipus, have perfect vision, but they’re “blind” to the truth. In the play, sight is used to represent knowledge. An example would be how prophets or seers, can “see” the truth behind what is really going on. Throughout the play, Oedipus is “blind” to everything that alludes to his downfall despite being pretty obvious. The underlying question in the play is if one can alter his fate. Sophocles uses sight and blindness to answer this question by showing that being blind or having sight can alter one’s fate.
The plot of Oedipus the King, a Greek Tragedy written by Sophocles, revolves around several prophecies. A plague has stricken Thebes, and Oedipus discovers that the plague will only end when the murder of King Laius has been caught. Additionally, another prophecy states that the son of King Laius and
Inability to Escape Fate Many people believe that fate has planned out their lives and despite efforts on their part what was meant to happen, will eventually happen. This belief has been handed down over the centuries from some of the first civilizations, such as the Greeks. However, not all
At the beginning Oedipus is characterized as a great leader. For example, he solves the riddle of the Sphinx, which is the winged female monster that terrorized the city (Sophocles 487). Here we can see how Oedipus is clever and smart. In result the people of Thebes respect him for his cleverness and reward him as King. People even look at him as being almighty when it comes to handling problems such as, when there is a plague that is killing people, animals and made women give birth to nothing. They knew he would help as long as he was aware of the situation. “We’ve come because you are the best man at handling trouble or confronting the gods” (Sophocles 487). This statement shows how people depend on him and look at him as a great leader. It also shows how he is a man of action and looks after his people as a king should. With that being said, he is told to find the killer of Laios and either banish them or kill them to stop the plague. Likewise, he did what he is commanded to do, he obeys the god and search for the killer that killed the previous king. Furthermore, he follows instruction and is concerned for himself and the people of Thebes. “My heart grieves for you, for myself, and for our city” (Sophocles 487).
To support this, Oedipus is stunned when Tiresias, one of his loyal subjects, refuses to tell him what happened so many years ago. “What? You know and you won’t tell? You’re bent on betraying us, destroying Thebes?” (Sophocles, line 377). Automatically, Oedipus assumes the worst of Tiresias. He believes this man is trying to betray him and his city. This quick to anger moment shows just how Oedipus thinks if someone doesn’t give him what he wants. Enraged when he hears the truth, Oedipus lashes out “You, you scum of the earth!” (Sophocles, line 381). This quote just shows how butt hurt Oedipus is when he learns about his faults. When hie ego is damaged in the slightest way, he becomes temperamental and hot headed. “No, I can’t say I grasped your meaning. Out with it, again!” 411. When Oedipus hears the truth, he lashes out, not wanting to believe in such accusations. This just shows that Oedipus can't bear the truth. “You're blind to the corruption of your life!” (Sophocles, line 471). Tiresias lashes out at Oedipus with this statement. This evidence shows just how childish Oedipus is. He doesn't think about his own faults or what he has done in the past.
The Greek tragedy of Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, was able to generate such a noteworthy impact as a result of the audience’s previous knowledge of the characters and their fate. As a result of this circumstance, Sophocles was able to make a compelling use of irony and allusion. All throughout the play, Oedipus the King, Sophocles builds the entire story using dramatic irony. Despite Oedipus’s unawareness of his identity and his fate, Sophocles uses dramatic irony to let the readers know who Oedipus truly is and to foreshadow the events which unfold throughout the story. Sophocles uses many different scenes throughout the play that portray dramatic irony. Although, the three most important are Oedipus’s curse towards himself, Oedipus’s insult to Tiresias, and the fortune-teller’s prophecy about Oedipus.
4. “Well then! Alright! I will leave nothing unsaid in my wrath. And I say to you then, old man, that in my mind I have you as one of those who has helped in Laius’ murder! Yes, old man! You have worked with them. Perhaps even you, yourself, have committed the deed! Indeed, if you had eyes that could see I would have said you did the deed all alone!” (Sophocles 346-350). When engaging with the blind prophet, Oedipus attempts to pry the truth out of Tiresias by accusing him, Tiresias of the murder. He thinks that if he starts making accusations towards Tiresias, he will in turn tell the truth so that people don’t start hearing this rumor.
First, it can be noted that Oedipus ends up doing exactly as “Why, tell me now, how stand your claims to prescience?... To solve her riddle, sooth was needed then, which you could not afford; even from birds...The unlettered Oedipus, and ended her, by sleight of wit, untaught of augury” (15). Again, Oedipus is showing his pride by mocking Tiresias and reminding him that he solved the riddle by being astute. This also leads to his downfall since Oedipus does not realize that Tiresias might be trying to convey something to him. If Oedipus did not insult Tiresias, he might have had another chance to avoid his fate.
Also, when Creon asks Oedipus the possibility that he is wrong when accusing Tiresias and himself, Oedipus disregards the needs and rights of other people in order to avoid the truth of the suffering that Tiresias has bestowed upon him: “‘What if you’re wholly wrong?’ ‘No matter-I must rule’”. Oedipus became rash and selfish when faced with suffering when he threw away the rights of the citizens for his own self pleasure despite the lack of evidence and reason to do so. Therefore, when Oedipus is faced with suffering, he blames others for his own fate to avoid the truth until it is right in front of him. Therefore, unlike Tiresias and King Laius, Oedipus is more hasty and selfish when faced with suffering.
The author of Oedipus, Sophocles, introduces a worthy rival to the main character Oedipus.Tiresias, who considers himself to be an equal to the Great King. Tiresias admits, “You are a king. But where the argument’s concerned // I am your man, as much as a king as you.// I am not your servant, but Apollo’s.”(Sophocles) While simultaneously trying to defend his honour and bring justice to Thebes, Oedipus argues about the integrity of Creon’s source. Tiresias retorts Oedipus’ impulsive accusations, in a studious, and King like manner.Tiresias’ diligent retaliation is dramatically significant because it develops Oedipus’ character; Oedipus is humanized and revered less as a God because of his flaws. The power dynamic shift causes the audience to become more judgemental of Oedipus since someone is holding him accountable for his behaviour. Additionally, the passage adds to the mystery of the plot and creates suspense, through Sophocles’ use of paradox, and imagery which cause the mood to change and creates a compelling story. Both of these elements cause the audience to pay attention to the drastic changes in character, and mood, to highlight the major theme of pride, power, and fate. Ultimately, the passage is intended to show the ignorance of Oedipus, and the awareness of Tiresias, who are symbols for the pervasiveness of fate.
Oedipus and His Tragic Traits In Sophocles play Oedipus the King, Sophocles depicts the horrible fate of Oedipus, a pompous, arrogant young ruler. The story begins in the Greek town of Thebes. A plague has descended upon the Thebians causing death and famine throughout the land. Oedipus, being the heroic king, takes full responsibility to find out the cause of their aliments. While working to discover the source of the plague, Oedipus stumbles upon the tragic truth of his heritage and the horrifying implications of his appointment to the throne. Unfortunately for Oedipus, everything ends in tragedy. With the suicide of his mother/wife and the self-inflicted blindness followed by exile from Thebes, Oedipus paved the path to his own
Oedipus the King- Writing Prompt In the play Oedipus the King, Sophocles uses dramatic irony to frustrate the audience and create suspense. After the first chorus, Oedipus vows to avenge the death of King Laius and “become [the] son” that Laius could have had if his life did not end (I.i.681). This scene frustrates the audience because they know Oedipus is the murderer, but he is either completely clueless or in denial. Oedipus’ refusal to accept the truth engages spectators by building the urge to witness the realization of his wrong doings. While Oedipus is speaking to Tiresias the prophet, he accuses the prophet of taking the life of the king. In response, the prophet told Oedipus he is “living in [dark] shame with the closest of [his]
Oedipus’ inflated ego and blatant denial of the truth is apparent from the very beginning of the play, and proves dangerous to those around him. In his opening dialogue, Oedipus discusses the plague with his citizens. Moreover, Oedipus says, “I thought it wrong, my children, to hear the truth/from others, messengers” (Sophocles 6-7). Consequently, Oedipus ignored warnings from messengers telling him that his people were starving, they tried to open his eyes to what his people were going through but in his stubbornness, he refused to believe it. Furthermore, Oedipus could not believe that he was failing his people; his ego wouldn’t allow it. Unfortunately, Instead of thinking rationally and listening to the warnings, Oedipus puts himself before the starving people of Thebes and this is not even the only time that Oedipus is seen putting himself before others due to an inflated ego. Furthermore, when Tiresias revealed to Oedipus that Oedipus was the killer, Oedipus immediately denied the allegations and attacked Tiresias. Oedipus says, “That obscenity, twice--by god, you’ll pay”(Sophocles 414). Later in the conversation, Oedipus exclaims, “Creon! Is this conspiracy his or yours?” (431). Non surprisingly, Oedipus’ irrational and paranoid thoughts that Creon and Tiresias are teaming up and plotting his overthrow are supported by no evidence. Over and over during his conversation with Tiresias, Oedipus is selfish and in denial, acting out towards Tiresias just for trying to help him. Yet, the worst comes when Oedipus accuses Tiresias of attempting to overthrow him, not even on a gut feeling, but
A kingdom cursed by the gods, doomed to die by famine and plague, in Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King, the people of Thebes and their king desperately cry out to the divine and beg for mercy and a way to end their agony. Finally, a glimmer of hope, a riddle
At the beginning, Oedipus is ignorant and is constantly avoids and ignores the truth in order to protect his reputation. Oedipus’ unwillingness to open his ears to the truth develops when Tiresias reveals that he killed Laius and one of his responses is, “Your words are nothing-- / futile” (416-417). Although Oedipus begged to hear Tiresias’ words, he was not willing to pay attention or open his eyes to the unfortunate idea. Oedipus pushes aside the words Tiresias says, refusing to believe that he could be the one who killed Laius, the one who must be cursed. Later, Tiresias brings up Oedipus’ ignorance saying “you’re blind to the corruption of your life” (471), and telling him a few lines later that “No man will ever / be rooted from the earth as brutally as you” (488-489). Oedipus was put in his place and blatantly told that he is ignorant but his rise to knowledge will also bring his demise. Sophocles foreshadowed using Tiresias in that way, but Oedipus was so into avoiding any confrontation with the truth at the beginning that he would respond calling Tiresias’ visions “absurdities” (494). Therefore, even though the truth has been revealed to him, Oedipus still chooses to remain blind to the truth in order to remain good in the eyes of his people.