Theme of Blindness in the play
As the play of Sophocles, Oedipus the King progresses, the theme of blindness will develop as the many paradoxes present in the story will too. At the beginning,Oedipus sees things surrounding him clearly. However, this vision will evolve as the play goes on.
The paradox of Oedipus who sees physically, yet doesn’t know much about his surroundings is at itsclimax when Oedipus starts a conversation with Tiresias. At this moment of the story, Tiresias represents the exact opposite of Oedipus who sees but who’s mentally blind. Indeed, Tiresias is physicallyblind. His blindness is here the formal guarantee of his vision, he sees through destiny and in Oedipus. As Oedipus claims him to tell him the reason Thebes is suffering a plague, he considers himselffree to speak or not as he says himself “None of you understands! I’ll never bring my grief to light-will not speak of yours.” (332)
After his meeting with Tiresias, Oedipus can’t still see clearly.However, he is now with the presence of truth which was revealed by the blind and sighted Tiresias.
Those who see are not aware. This is the case of Oedipus for much of Sophocles’ work. An examplewould be the plague that came to Thebes. Indeed, the previous sovereign, Theban King Laius, was murdered. It was a most heinous crime to murder a king. His murderers weren't identified specifically, andnever were punished. That unsolved crime of murder has encouraged the equally heinous crime, but yet unknown offense, of incest.
Nevertheless, Oedipus is not the only one not seeing andunderstanding the world around him. Indeed, the people of Thebes, at the exception of Tiresias, are blind as well. They still don’t know that their beloved King is the murderer of King Laius.
Oedipus willeventually discover the truth about the world around him and his own existence. This sudden realization will push him to make himself physically blind. He goes blind because now he knows; he goes blind...
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