The Agony of Suffering Pain is now and forever. Everyone suffers for one reason or another and it is this suffering that pushes people to completely change in order to catalyze themselves from the agony, but what if the catalyst is the cause of the suffering in the first place? While Oedipus struggles through his pride, Sophocles seeks to dive into the deeper meaning of life and addresses up the question, “Is ignorance the ultimate cause of human suffering?” which, through the plot of the story, Sophocles attacks the blindness people cast upon themselves so that they can hide from the darker aspects of the world when truly, they are only inviting more agony into their lives. His antidote is also his poison. In order to truly understand what Sophocles means, the question “Is ignorance the ultimate cause of suffering?” must be broken down. Ignorance is a significant theme throughout Oedipus the King as it magnifies from Oedipus and the actions that he takes.. Oedipus’ blindness spawns from his fear of the truth. He chooses lock away his past. This is shown when Tiresias reveals to Oedipus that he is the killer of Laius, but Oedipus chooses to ignore Tiresias and accuse him of blasphemy which forces Tiresias to expose Oedipus’s blindness stating, “Your great fortune, true, it was your ruin. (503)” This shows that through all his recent success, Oedipus has suppressed his past memories which has kept him from seeing the truth in this whole situation.
The irony in Oedipus
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The tragic fall of Oedipus in Sophocles play “Oedipus Rex” is both self-inflicted and result of events drawn from his own destiny. First off early on in Oedipus’ life his first deadly mistake towards succeeding his self-inflicted downfall was the murder of his father the former king. In a blind rage without any motive, he kills Liaus and his men at a rode crossing. Fate may have had led him to that point but it was his own rage that resulted in his biggest mistake. Further evidence of his self-inflicted downfall Oedipus’ was at the hands of his own ignorance. This ignorance combined with his stubborn, determined attitude does not allow him foresight. This foresight would have led
In Sophocles' Oedipus the King, the element of fate versus freewill shows up frequently all through the play. It is foreseen to Oedipus' parents, Jocasta and Laius, that their child would grow up to slaughter his father and wed his mother. Jocasta and Laius endeavor to dispose of their child, however, fate triumphs. Oedipus' fate all through the play has been chosen by the fate which adds to his annihilation. Various societies and cultures all through history have embraced similar perspectives, accepting a fate or destiny for their lives. Such points of view are very common is Greek myths who had confidence in "the three Fates" — goddesses who controlled the lives of individuals and the world in general. Clotho the youngest spins the thread of human life. She decides who will be born and when. Lachesis, a matron, measures the thread deciding a person’s lot in life. She is shown with a measuring stick, a scroll, a book, or a globe that represents the horoscope. Atropos, the oldest, choses the mechanism of death and ends the life of each mortal by cutting their thread. She is usually portrayed with a cutting instrument, a scroll, a wax tablet, a sundial, or a pair of scales. Even in modern day, some Christian philosophies incorporate destiny as fate. Many Jews acknowledge that their God has an arrangement for their people and nation.
Oedipus the King by Sophocles’ is intertwined with many powerful themes and messages, establishing what real vision and real sight are. Sophocles’ play also demonstrates that sometimes in life we have to experience great loss in order to rediscover our true selves. In Oedipus’s quest for truth, lack of self-control, ignorance and tragic self-discovery prevail. Physical vision does not necessarily guarantee insight, nor impart truth. Intertwined with dramatic and cosmic irony, all of these elements contribute to the major theme of blindness and sight, depicting wisdom
When you think of blindness you think of sight and when you think of ignorance you think of knowledge. Throughout the play Oedipus, sight and blindness imagery is very noticeable, along with ignorance and knowledge. Sophocles creates Oedipus as a character of ignorance, confidence, and good insight. The story starts out as Oedipus is the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta. The oracle told the parents that their son would kill his father and marry his mother. The parents refused to let this happen and sent the servant to pin Oedipus’s feet together and leave him on the mountain to die. The messenger knew this was not right and stepped in immediately to help the poor child. As Oedipus grew older he found out the truth about his life and why certain things happened. Over time, Oedipus's blindness shows him the lack of knowledge he knew about his true life story.
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 Queen Jocasta would kill his father and sleep with his mother. Oedipus vows to the citizens of Thebes that he will find the murderer, but as the plot develops, Oedipus comes to the realization that he himself was the murderer that he had been seeking. There are several scenes in Oedipus the King that incorporate violence, and these violent scenes are a critical aspect of the play because they contribute to the development of the plot; the use of violence, whether verbal or physical, also enhances our understanding of the characters’ personalities and/or emotions.
Oedipus intelligence could not see the truth, but the blind man, Teiresias, saw it plainly. Sophocles uses blindness as a theme in the play. Oedipus was uninformed and as a result blind to the truth about himself and his past. Yet, when Teiresias exposes the truth he is in denial. It is left to Oedipus to conquer his blindness, accept the truth, and realize fate. But instead Oedipus ridicules Terirsias blindness and accuses him of being on the side of Kreon and helping him become King. He accuses Teiresias for being paid to tell a fraudulent prophecy to him. Quickly Teiresias answers him back and tells him he is BLIND, and tells him about his past of who his actual mother and father was.
Oedipus’s tragic flaw is gained once he obtained his greatness and became king. Oedipus’s knowledge contained arrogance, and a metaphorical blindness that fosters his urge for the truth. Hence, Oedipus’s tragic flaw was his own intelligence, which later became curiosity for the all the burdens that is be fallen over his kingdom. He had a troubling obsession for learning the truth, so he could not sit aside so he went on a menacing quest for answers. Oedipus stated a message that reveled his flaw, “Then once more I must bring what is dark to light, but for my own sake to be rid of evil” ( Sophocles 134; 140). His pride and determination clouded his judgment to see the surface of the whole truth. The truth is Oedipus wanted to avoid his fate, but instead his own tragic flaw walked him into it. Even after Oedipus learned of the truth from the prophecy, his mind continued to deny what was the actual truth. The prophet spoke these words to Oedipus, “I say that you, with your eyes, are blind / you can not see the wretchedness of your life” (Sophocles 196-197). He still ventured on to find the alternative to his fate and he only became worse. Soon Oedipus’s pride corrupted his intelligence increasing his flaw. He now accused anyone who restated the prophecy and told all they were only after his crown.
We are all born little happy babies. Then we start to learn words and understand what surrounds us. We are taught to react to certain things negatively, and have a bias towards some things that other family members do not agree with. You get taught things that make life miserable, like doubt, fear and worry. If you were to be living life in doubt, worry, or fear, you would be unhappy. I agree with the choruses statement saying that the human condition is essentially an unhappy one because we get taught things that are supposed to sadden us during our upbringing. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus’s fate shows his sorrowful life when he went through hardships like the curse on Thebes, denial of himself, and the worry about the fulfillment of his prophecy.
In many countries around the world, ignorance carries a considerable weight in politics, households, between friends, and in other vicinities. This ignorance can be depicted as blindness of the mind. In the Greek philosopher Sophocles’ play, Oedipus the King, Oedipus’ family and friends share their blindness in the fact that they love Oedipus and don’t have a desire to know the truth of his ruined past. They keep things from Oedipus and end up withholding the actualities of life from themselves in the process. Sophocles urges the reader that the love people clutch to can cause people to lose sight of the truth. He then expands on the blindness, demonstrating the idea that when the truth comes out, it pulls the love a person feels for another into darkness with it. Love is fragile, and can be easily destroyed by the opening of the eye, causing families to crumble underneath.
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.
All throughout Oedipus the King, Sophocles has Oedipus on an unknown journey from ignorance to knowledge. Oedipus believes that he has nothing to do with the murder of King Laius even though the truth is laid out in front of him multiple times. As the story goes on, Oedipus begins to become more open-minded to new information that has an unknown cost. Therefore, through the journey to recognition, the once great and powerful Oedipus, can cause his own demise. Sophocles demonstrates that ignorance will blind one from the truth and knowledge will open one's eyes.
In “Oedipus,” Sophocles writes about a man who is hunted down by his cruel fate, and whose life is ruined in attempt to run away from it. The ancient Greek perspective reflects on the matter of the story and how the god’s highly influence the lives of humans. This viewpoint basically shows the unbounded power the Greek gods have; by being the gods of destiny, and leaving man at a helpless position. Fate plays a massive role in the lives of humans and as was believed by the ancient Greeks, their lives were simply directed by a decision of gods and goddesses. Oedipus knew his fate set by a curse cast on him; however, even when being aware it is impossible to escape fate, he still attempted to run away from it. As the play progresses Oedipus begins to understand the unbearable truth as he states “I’ve called down a dreadful curse upon myself,” followed by a response “I simply didn’t know!” (1103). It is the will of the man to realize what is inevitable and what choice is. In the Ancient Greece, Gods were praised and worshiped and any command stated by them is the undecided future. Oedipus acting as a blinded man who did not know of such fact led him to his fate and ironically is what later led him to blind himself (Gould). When Oedipus stabs his eyes out with the
The famed tragedian Sophocles is known for his unique ideas and intellect. Sophocles carefully utilizes of all of his intelligence and creative ability in order to make use of illuminating moments throughout the play which allow his audience to draw conclusions about free will, fate, knowledge, and power throughout perhaps his most iconic play, Oedipus Rex. the main character Oedipus experiences an illuminating moment when he gouges his eyes out at the discovery of the truth about his actions. This illumination is expressed in order to express Sophocles’ idea that fate overpowers free will.
From the very beginning of Oedipus, one can see that the main character of Oedipus is very sure about who he is and where he has come from. One of the most important motifs of the story is the idea of metaphorical blindness, and how Oedipus claims that everyone else around him is blind, and he is the only one that can see. However, what Oedipus soon finds out is that he has no idea who he is, and that all along he has been blind himself. Sophocles makes Oedipus suffer because of the fact that he actually has no idea who he is, and almost avoids figuring it out. It takes a defining moment for it to dawn on Oedipus that he is not who he thought he was. Oedipus’ blindness seems to have been his downfall, but the more prevalent question that
Sophocles’s reliance on dramatic irony is apparent throughout the entire story. From the start of the play—where Oedipus searches for the murderer of the fallen king—the audience is already aware of Oedipus’s story. Ironically, readers grasp that Oedipus was the murderer of Laius and therefore the cause of the plague. Oedipus himself, however, lacks any knowledge of his participation in the event and believes that he has managed to avoid the prophecy’s fruition. As such, Sophocles’s use of the device affects the way the plot progresses. Mainly, the author bases the conflict on Oedipus’s “blindness”. It draws out the story until it reaches its climax. Throughout the play, Oedipus is in denial of his involvement in the death of Laius despite being told several times of his guilt. One such time occurred when Teiresias, an old blind prophet, reluctantly told Oedipus of his actions. As to be expected, Oedipus reject his words with scorn, threatening the old man. “Do you imagine you can always talk like this, and live to laugh at it hereafter?” (lines 425-426) Oedipus further insults Teiresias physical blindness, not realizing his own metaphorical blindness. As per dramatic irony, however, readers know the one who is truly blind was Oedipus. Teiresias further makes this apparent. “You have your eyes but see not where you are in sin, nor where you live, nor whom you live with. Do you know who your parents are?” (lines 482-484) Events such as these seem to be a recurring theme in the play. Oedipus is made aware of the truth by another character, and then he fervently accuses them. Because of this, the audience becomes familiar with the pattern. The dramatic