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Blinding Fate - Oedipus The King

             Oedipus, King of Thebes, is bounded by fate and blinded by his ignorance. In Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Oedipus is doomed to fall, predestined by fortune. By the play's end, the King of Thebes fulfills the oracle. This sentiment is supported by several examples throughout the tragedy, all of which are beyond the control of the poor King. His fall from grace is to occur regardless of his character or any outside intervention. Despite Oedipus's physical ability to see, he is blinded to the truth because of his arrogance and character traits. This juxtaposes the prophet Tiresias, who is inherently blind but sees not only the truth but beyond, outside the realm of the present. The King jeers Tiresias for his blindness when he has to force him to proclaim his revelation against his will. Oedipus is so blinded by his own self-assertion that he does not even see the significance of his name, serving as an ironic clue to his past. The prophecy that Oedipus would murder his father and marry his mother seems completely irrational to the King because of his naivity. In an ironic twist, Oedipus becomes more like Tiresias in the end, physically blinded himself but finally grasping the truth. Oedipus still lacks Tiresias's ability of foresight.
             As the tragedy opens, Oedipus's city Thebes, is ridden with plague. Many are dying and the people, represented as the Chorus, are in a somewhat alarmed state. The King holds true to his character and addresses the problem head on. He sends Creon, his brother-in-law and uncle, to the prophet Delphi to gain insight on how to end the plague. Unknown to Oedipus, his biological father Laius received the prophecy that his son would kill him and marry his wife, from the same oracle. In witness of the Chorus, Creon returns and at the King's bidding delivers his message in the presence of the public. "As a measure of his own greatness, he will resolve Thebes's distress, and he will do it openly for all to see.

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