Analysis Of ' Oedipus ' Rex '

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Physical blindness is a disability, though what is worse is a blindness to the truth. This form of blindness is one of the key themes of Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex, a story of how fate always finds a way regardless of how much one blinds themselves to it. There are several instances of this irony throughout the story, exemplified in various characters and situations they encounter. One of the best examples of blindness throughout this story is Oedipus himself, the main character. He is a rather prideful man, and king of the land of Thebes that is infected with a murderous plague. At the heart of the plague is a cursed man, whom Oedipus sets out to find and murder. One of the first things Oedipus does in his quest to discover the cursed man is to have a blind prophet brought to him to reveal the facts. This blind man, Teresias, may be blind to his physical surroundings, but he sees the truth more clearly than other men. This is shown when Teresias refuses to talk to Oedipus about the curse, telling him, “I will not bring this pain upon us both, neither on you nor on myself. Why is it you question me and waste your labor? I will tell you nothing” (lines 358-360). Teresias sees not only the prophecy of the curse, but also how deeply it will affect Oedipus, and wisely warns against Oedipus’s prying. Eventually, Teresias shares with Oedipus the prophecy: Oedipus is the cursed man whose fate of murdering his father and bedding his mother has been sealed. Even when this truth has been revealed to him by a trusted, insightful, blind prophet, his pride swells and he taunts Teresias, calling him a fool. Before exiting, his last words to Oedipus are, “Go within, reckon that out, and if you find me mistaken, say I have no skill in prophecy” (l... ... middle of paper ... burst forth. Oedipus finds her, lifeless, and immediately tears away the pins that held her robe. He uses them to viciously stab out his own eyes, “shrieking out such things as: they will never see the crime I have committed or had done upon me” (lines 1340-1342)! Oedipus never want to look at what he has done, and feels he does not deserve to see life after this moment. To conclude, Oedipus Rex is a prime example of the dangers of pride and denial. Though these were used as tools of protection by a man and his wife, they eventually caused significantly more hurt than help. Likewise, though the prophet was blind in sight, he was able to see more than they were, because his metaphorical vision was not fogged up by the desire to protect himself. He understood what they did not: no matter how hard one tries to ignore it, fate will play out as it has been determined.
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