Blindness And Sight In Oedipus The King

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Authors often use blindness and sight as a metaphor for knowledge and insight of the truth. For example, this was a major theme in Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, signifying the inability of African Americans to notice their everlasting inequality. Such use of the sense of sight to symbolize knowledge dates back to ancient Greek theatre. Sophocles notably employs this metaphor in his Oedipus trilogy, specifically Oedipus Rex, also known as Oedipus The King. Sophocles uses sight as a metaphor for understanding and awareness of the truth; however, Sophocles utilizes this metaphor ironically in order to portray Oedipus’ own choice and role in his ignorance of the truth. The symbol of sight and blindness appears significantly for the first time when Oedipus is meeting Tiresias, the blind prophet who “knowest [all], though [his] blinded eyes see naught.” (Page 6) Although Tiresias is literally blind, he has clear vision of the truth and the oracle of Oedipus’ downfall. On the other hand, Oedipus can has the ability to see in the literal sense, for he “sees the sun,” yet he is…show more content…
He then recognizes his lack of metaphorical sight by stating, “For, had I sight, I know not with what eyes I could have met my father in the shades, or my poor mother, since against the twain I sinned… No, such sight could never bring me joy.” (Page 28) He recognizes the metaphor of sight as knowledge and recognizes that although he had clear vision literally, he was not able to look at the things and people he encountered in the light of the truth. When Oedipus’ “sight [of the truth] brought no delight,” he attempt to return to his blissful ignorance by making himself literally blind. By gauging his eyes out, Oedipus further proves the extent to which he chose to ignore the truth because he once again is choosing to be blind, even after he had achieved true
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