Seeing the Truth in Sophocles´ Oedipus the King Essay

Seeing the Truth in Sophocles´ Oedipus the King Essay

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Throughout Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, there are many references to sight, blindness, and seeing the truth. Characters, such as Tiresias, are able to accurately predict what Oedipus’ fate will be through their power to see the truth in a situation. Oedipus maintains a pompous and arrogant personality throughout the play as he tries to keep control of the city of Thebes and prove the speculations about his fate as falsities. Ironically, although Tiresias is physically blind, he is able to correctly predict how Oedipus’ backstory will unfold, while other characters, such as Jocasta and Oedipus are oblivious to the truth even though they can physically see. Thus, we can conclude that the power of “seeing the truth” deviates greatly from the power of sight in reality and can lead to an expedited fate or a detrimental occurrence.
Throughout Oedipus’ quest to disprove prophecy and discover the truth about his life, his incredible hubris causes his reaction to his final discovery to be one that flaws his nobility. Upon realizing the truth, Oedipus gouges out his own eyes in attempt to become superior because he is amazed at the fact that a Tiresias, a blind prophet who he has just recently insulted because of his inability to physically see, was able to project Oedipus’ fate and outsmart the ever so noble and ever perfect Oedipus (which is how he invasions himself.) Oedipus’ desire to be the best at everything overwhelms him as he gouges out his own eyes to make himself even more superior, because his false perceptions about the true powers of blindness and sight has led him to believe that being blind makes you superior: “I did it all myself! What good were eyes to me? Nothing I could see could bring me joy.” (241) The fact that Oed...


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In Oedipus the King, Sophocles suggests that the impact of seeing the truth is harmful rather than enlightening. Whenever Oedipus strives to discover more to strengthen Thebes’ perspective of him, it leads him closer to his fate as determined by prophesy. Tiresias stands as a model in the play for the individual who is able to see the meaning beyond plot of events although his is blind, and Oedipus represents the oblivious arrogant individual who is never content because they need to be the unsurpassed individual. In the play, Sophocles illustrates the downside of a personality like Oedipus who desires to see the truth by ending the play with the brutality of gouging out his own eyes. Ultimately, the play reinforces that seeing the truth is harmful and being content with what you have, without greedily striving for more, can help avoid fate and a related deposition.

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