Oedipus The King Rhetorical Analysis

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Throughout Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex, Oedipus attempts to figure out who killed Laïos, unsure until the end of the play that he was the one who committed the murder. When the Shepherd finally tells him that he has fulfilled his oracle, Oedipus is so distraught with his offenses that he stabs himself in the eyes. In doing so, Oedipus switches from being figuratively blind to being physically blind. Sophocles’s extended metaphors of lightness and darkness, knowledge or truth and ignorance, and vision and blindness suggest that it is better to live ignorantly, because knowledge causes destruction by revealing unforgivable sins. Sophocles expresses the harmfulness of complete truth through illustrating those knowledgeable of the truth as weighted down with guilt and Oedipus’s changing definitions of dark and light. Sophocles…show more content…
Before Oedipus compels Teiresias to tell the actuality of Laïos’s death, Teiresias proclaims, “How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be when there’s no help in truth! I knew this well, but made myself forget. I should not have come (17).” Teiresias goes as far as to make himself forget Oedipus’s truth as a coping mechanism, demonstrating how much anxiety reality can create. Sophocles parallels two oxymorons here to augment the effect of his words; a blind soothsayer is almost oxymoronic in definition, and Teiresias’s description of “knowledge,” encompassed with the word “dreadful,” is also oxymoronic to the common description of knowledge as enlightenment. Later, Oedipus declares “I will not listen; the truth must be made known (57).” moments before he is afflicted with knowledge of the fulfilled oracle. Jocasta, trying to save him from this affliction, begs in response, “Everything that I say is for your own good (57)!” to tie her reasoning to Oedipus’s personal benefit,

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