Sight And Blindness: A Study Of Sophocles’ Oedipus

1793 Words8 Pages
Sight and Blindness: A Study of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex The people with the best vision are in fact blind. This is an important theme throughout Greek literature. In “Oedipus Rex”, Sophocles emphasizes the idea that real sight does not require eyes, but the ability to see beyond the surface of things and find truth. One must not only be able to see something, but one must also be able to understand it. Blind people have the power to see the invisible. The only physically blind character is Teiresias. Throughout the play he is able to see what has, is, and will happen. Oedipus has been blinded to the truth his entire life. Oedipus doesn’t achieve the knowledge of truth until he blinds himself with Jocasta’s broach. Sight and blindness take on different forms throughout the play. The first form of sight and blindness is knowledge. This is the characters ability to see past the surface of things and to truly comprehend them. Sophocles informs the reader that Oedipus is blind to the truth just as Teiresias is blind to the world. Teiresias convicts Oedipus: “But I say that you, with both your eyes, are blind”. (1318) He references not his physical state, but his mental state. Teiresias continues saying: “You cannot see the wretchedness of your life” referring to Oedipus’ depraved relationship and the murder of his father, Laius. (1318) Blindness could also mean unknowingly done or forgotten. The information that is missing from most of the play is the knowledge of one’s self. Oedipus is clearly bright, but he lacks the knowledge of his past. Oedipus answered the Sphinx’s riddle because he was intelligent enough to identify the hint of the question, but he was unable to detect the hints of his own life. According to M. G. Shields, “Thus, in the hundred-odd lines of the prologos Sophocles, through a deft manipulation of the sight-blindness symbolism,

More about Sight And Blindness: A Study Of Sophocles’ Oedipus

Open Document