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Oedipus Sight versus Blindness

             The symbolism of sight versus blindness throughout Sophocles" "Oedipus the King" represents the idea of knowledge versus ignorance. The representation of sight versus blindness is used by Sophocles to emphasize the tragic flaw and tragic self-discovery of Oedipus. Many of Sophocles" characters, as well as the Oedipus himself, incorporate this pattern of light versus darkness into their analysis of both Oedipus and the situation at hand. .
             Many statements made by Oedipus not only show the conflict between others" knowledge and his ignorance, but also the irony of what he believes to be true. In one scene, Oedipus calls for Tiresias, to find the murderer of Laius. When the blind prophet subtlety suggests that Oedipus is the killer, Oedipus becomes enraged. ". You've lost your power, stone-blind, stone-deaf - senses, eyes blind as stone!. You can't hurt me or anyone else who sees the light - you can never touch me you pious fraud." (p. 999). Ironically it is Tiresias, the blind prophet, who sees the truth. Oedipus makes no distinction between physical blindness and ignorance. Thus the misguided Oedipus implies that he knows the truth and Tiresias does not, revealing the irony of his statement.
             Later on in the play, another reference of sight versus blindness is made. Once Oedipus discovers of his role in the death of Laius and realizes the truth of the earlier prophecy, causes Oedipus to become upset. He then runs to finds his wife/mother dead. Jocasta had committed suicide by hanging herself, after learning the truth of Oedipus past. Seeing Jocasta dead, Oedipus then proceeds to stab his own eyes out, and explains his motivation. ". What good where eyes to me? Nothing I could see could bring me joy What love, what call of heart can touch my ears with joy? Nothing, friends." (p. 1024). This passage shows Oedipus relating physical blindness with ignorance, as he removes his eyes in hopes of removing the knowledge of the terrible deeds he has committed.

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