The main theme, which develops the central action throughout the play Oedipus Rex, focusses on the term “blindness.” The beginning of the play involves Oedipus being intellectually blind of the truth, trying to find out, but not succeeding. During the middle of the play Oedipus recognizes the truth about his past and himself, discovering that he was blind. Then Oedipus punishes himself harshly by making himself physically blind. It is Oedipus’s unfortunate blindness, which is his tragic flaw. He is intellectually blind as well as physically blind. He is blind of the truth of himself and his past. In the past, he was taken away from his real parents, so his destined fate would not come true. He was then found by the herdsman, who gave him to King Polybus and Merope’ to raise as their child. Oedipus became older, and as he was away he killed King Laois without knowing what he was doing. After solving the riddle of the Sphinx, Oedipus became King of Thebes, and married his real mother Jocasta, not realizing who she was.
He can see physically well at the beginning of the play, but he is blind and ignorant of the real truth about himself and his past. He believes Creon is causing him trouble and telling him lies instead of the truth. Tiresias disagrees, “No, your affliction is yourself, not Creon, (384), he says, telling Oedipus that he creates his own ill fortune. Oedipus thinks that Creon is trying to steal his throne and plot to kill him when he tells him the truth about himself. “My loyal Creon, colleage from the start, longs to sneak up in secret and dethrone me, (389).
Title In the play, Oedipus the King, blindness is used metaphorically and physically to characterize several personas, and the images of clarity and vision are used as symbols for knowledge and insight. Enlightenment and darkness are used in much the same manner, to demonstrate the darkness of ignorance, and the irony of vision without sight. .".. they will never see the crime I have committed or ...
Creon is doing no such thing. Although Oedipus desperately tries to discover the truth, he does not succeed. Jocasta tries to cause Oedipus to stop looking for the truth, feeling that the truth will only cause him more pain. “For the love of the gods, and if you love your life, give up this search! My sickness is enough, (1065).
Jocasta already feels pain and knows all about the truth. If Oedipus finds out the truth, then it will cause her more pain. Oedipus also persistently asks the herdsman about the past. The herdsman becomes irritated by Oedipus’s curiosity and questioning, and states, “Don’t-by the gods!-don’t, master, ask me more!”(1170).
Toward the end of the play, Oedipus learns the true nature of things. The herdsman reveals his past to him and he learns that the oracle and Tiresias are correct. Now, Oedipus can clearly see what the truth is, but does not want to accept it. As a result, he blinds himself as a punishment so that he may not see. Unfortunately, this does not help his problem. It is an act of cowardice because he did not want to accept the situation by the way he saw it and decided not to see it at all. Oedipus’s mental “blindness” was brought upon him by his fate by Apollo. “It was Apollo there, Apollo, friends, who brought my sorrows, vile sorrows to their perfection, these evils that were done to me. For why was I to see when nothing I could see would bring me joy?”(1339).
This line in the play represents his mental blindness brought upon him by his fate. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot escape his fate or “blindness.” He had unintentionally killed his father, had slept with his mother without realizing who she really was, and blinded himself physically. Physicaly blinding himself is his only way to escape his fate.
Tiresias represents “blindness” in the play. It is ironic that even though Tiresias is physically blind, he can still see the truth about Oedipus: Hera this, sinse you have thrownmy blindness at me: Your eyes can’t see the evil to which you’ve come, nor where you live, nor who is in your house. Do you know your parents? There will never be a man ground into the wretchedness as you will be, (417).
Teiresias vs. Oedipus The play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles tells about a man who is blind to see his own fate. The King goes through many different hubris acts leading up to the reason why he is blind. Throughout the play many different people try to tell Oedipus what's happening but he doesn't want to believe it. Oedipus was given away as a baby, and raised by another King and Queen. Oedipus grew up ...
This speech by Tiresias informs Oedipus about his unfortunate life and fate, which he is ignorant of. Tiresias informs Oedipus about his “blindness”, but Oedipus does not want to believe him. “Am I to listen to such things from him! May you be damned! Get out of here at once! Go! (434).
Oedipus says this line. He denies the truth of what Tiresias is saying, becoming very angry with him. The final speech given by Choragos also illustrates the theme of the play: Men of Thebes: look upon Oedipus. This is the king who solved the famous riddle and towered up, most powerful of men. No mortal eyes but looked on him with envy, yet in the end ruin swept over him. Let every man in mankind’s frailty consider his last day, and let none presume on his good fortune until he find life, at his death, a memory without pain (Sophocles,1294,lines 291-300).
This final speech given by Choragos says that even the greatest men crumble to ruins or discover great misfortune, and all humans are subject to pain and suffering. This quote may also mean that everyone is blind, even the greatest people, and one should not grow accustomed to good fortune. Bad luck, pain, and suffering may show up in anyone’s life when they least expect it. Oedipus was blind mentally as well as physically and experienced suffering and pain. He could not run away from his bad fortune because he was ignorant and “blind”, and it was his fate.
So, the main theme is Oedipus’s ability to “see” or his ignorance and willingness to “see.” Throughout the play, “blindness” is the main situation. He is able to see physically well at the beginning of the play, but not at the end. In the play, he is always intellectually blind, hopelessly trying to find out the truth about himself and his past.