Sight and Ignorance: an Insight Into "Oedipus the King"

853 Words4 Pages
Symbolizing Sight: Knowledge vs Ignorance in Oedipus the King Oedipus, the character of focus within Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King, is subject to the greatest of ironies due to the play’s motif of sight: through metaphorical sightlessness, which is a case of ignorance, he condemns himself and uses literal blindness as his own punishment. Having been characterized within the literary work as possessing both knowledge and ignorance of his upbringing, metaphorical and literal elements of sight are constantly used to shed light on Oedipus’s experiences throughout the duration of the play. Mostly metaphorical in its usage within the literary work, the characters regularly utilize the terms of “sight” and “blindness” in order to address levels of knowledge or lack thereof as they gradually unravel the story’s underlying truth. The character of Oedipus is a man considered to have great insight and intelligence due to his success in protecting the city of Thebes from the threat of the sphinx by solving its riddle. This makes the situation even more ironic when the audience learns that Oedipus has been ignorant of the true reasons for his placement as king. While terms of sight and blindness are regularly employed throughout the play, their meanings during the earliest parts of the work are subtle. These terms carry the essences of “knowledge” and “ignorance” in their respective uses, which become heavily pronounced when they are brought to the attention of the audience at the entrance of the character Tiresias. Teiresias embodies the same traits from the opposite side of the scale in comparison to Oedipus. While Oedipus has physically normal sight and is revealed to actually be ignorant of the truth regarding his fate, Tiresias is a literally sightless oracle who possesses the greatest insight of any character within the play. Within the story’s earliest

More about Sight and Ignorance: an Insight Into "Oedipus the King"

Open Document