Sight in Oedipus the King
As soon as blind, today he Sees: Sight in Oedipus the King Sophocles was a remarkable author that captivated his audience with an unique beauty still not yet duplicated by even the very best of play-writers today. In Oedipus the King, a tale of vibrant percentages regarding a leader who falls from the throne of a city to the dark depths of is fate, Sophocles demonstrates terrific genius in that his writings require a considerable quantity of intellectual participation from his audience. Helmbold) One of the frequently discussed images driving the plot of the play is the concept of sight verses loss of sight. This theme of blindness in Oedipus the King is crucial to the story and whole plot of the play. It enables Sophocles to dabble the definition of sight and produce the basis upon which Oedipus’ internal conflicts cause his paradoxical death. In the earlier scenes of the play, Sophocles is quick to establish the “paradox of sight” (Helmbold 38) in which the contrasting physical conditions of Tiresias and Oedipus are given the leading edge.
This interesting contradiction between the two characters was that the blind seer had the ability of seeing Oedipus’ destiny while Oedipus could see physically, however was ignorant of his own fate. Such a paradox brought to light the concept of physical sight having less of a value in contrast to spiritual/intellectual sight. Basically, the definition of sight, as defined by Sophocles, has a lot more to do with seeing spiritually? as Tiresias does? rather than the physical capability to see? like that of Oedipus.
Sophocles utilizes Tiresias’ character to take advantage of this concept as he tells the audience (through Tiresias) that Oedipus’ absence of real sight will lead to his mess up. For example, after Oedipus tests Tiresias’ persistence, Tiresias informs Oedipus a rather puzzling statement including the parts of is fate he had not yet found: “You mock my blindness? Let me tell you this. You with your valuable eyes, you’re blind to the corruption of your life, to your home you reside in, those you deal with …” (Sophocles 183) He then continues to inform Oedipus about his fate of becoming blind, and using a taff similar to that which he makes fun of Tiresias for having. Sophocles’ use of sight in this portion of the play allowed him to offer the audience with in-depth foreshadowing, and likewise start the constant irony of Oedipus’ condition and his fate. Additionally, as the play advances, Sophocles utilizes sight to inflict Oedipus with the seal of his inevitable fate. Because he lacked the ability to see his fate, Oedipus kept pressing to know more information about his past, his household, and the previous king’s murder. This rather actually led to the digging of his own societal tomb.
The more he understood, the more powerful the ties between himself and the crimes grew, and thus, the more his fate ended up being an unfortunate certainty. As an outcome, Sophocles’ lots of uses of sight, such as the previously discussed foreshadowing and Oedipus’ relentless decision to understand more, all cause his ironic failure. When his never-ending search for the fact concerned an end, the puzzling warnings Tiresias had actually preached long before had ended up being real. Simply as Tiresias and the Gods had warned, he had killed the previous kin of Thebes and he had married his own mother.
Right after he had actually understood the truth, Oedipus picked to end his sight by blinding himself. Certainly one can? see’ the many aspects of paradox in this play. A guy revered for his honor and credibility of securing the people of Thebes is ultimately the person who does the most disgraceful of things in the city and ends up causing a plaque causing scary and anguish among the very individuals who revered him. Another rather clear paradoxical lead to the play is that of Oedipus’ fate in relation to his original condition.
Once blinded with ignorance, Oedipus lastly finds the reality, but blinds himself as an outcome of his disgust. “What I did was best,” he begins, “I with my eyes, how could I take a look at my daddy in the eyes? the sight of my kids, not with these eyes of mine? I am suffering!” (Sophocles 243) The play definitely comes “cycle,” with Oedipus’ unintentional blindness eventually altering to a self-inflicted blindness, and such an event would not have been possible without Sophocles’ usage of sight and loss of sight.
For that reason, Comprehending the true significance of sight as specified by Sophocles in the play is essential to facilitate the comprehension of the underlying morals and real significance throughout the play. Without such understanding, reading the play will merely lead to one’s partial understanding of the message that Sophocles was trying to convey. Functions Cited Fagles, Robert, trans. The 3 Theban Plays. New York City, NY: Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 1982. 155-278. Helmbold, W. C. “The Paradox of the Oedipus.” The American Journal of Philology Vol. 80, no. 3, 1951: 293-300.