Sight Motifs In Sophocles Oedipus Rex

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Often people do not see things they do not want to, leading them to have misunderstandings about their life, and occurrences around them. This is clearly expressed in the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, Part of Sophocles work of Drama. The play tells the story of the city of Thebes and it’s king Oedipus. Seeing Thebes sickened by the plague, Oedipus vows to rid the city of the disease. Oedipus learns that in order to save the city he must avenge the murder of Thebes previous king, Laïos. On a quest to find the culprit, Oedipus discovers dark secrets about himself and his past. Using the development of a sight motif within the play, Sophocles suggests that humans only see what they want to see. The motif is first referenced when Oedipus speaks…show more content…
When he gets close to finding out who his parents are his wife, Jocasta, begins to hesitate about the investigation. Oedipus believes that she is hesitating because she is ashamed that he may be of low origin. Oedipus reassures “ But I am a child of Luck; I can not be dishonored./Luck is my mother; the passing months, my/ brothers,/ Have seen me rich and poor./ If this is so,/ How could I wish that I were someone else?/How could I not be glad to know my birth?” (Sophocles, 58). Here, Oedipus is saying how no low origin could disgrace him as he has done so many good things and is so lucky. This shows dramatic irony because Oedipus thinks that he is lucky, although we as an audience know that he is anything but. Here the sight motif represents how Oedipus chooses to see himself. When Oedipus says “ I can not be dishonored” it shows his hubristic attitude and tone. Oedipus sees himself as too great for dishonor. When he says “how could I wish that I were someone else” Oedipus is expressing how he sees himself as superior to everyone else. Oedipus only sees himself how he wants to, showing not only his hubris but that people only see what they want to…show more content…
Jocasta realizes all the horrors of what has happened and she commits suicide. Oedipus is distraught by her death. He is so horrified that he plunges her brooches into his eyes, blinding himself. As he blinds himself, he screams “No more, /No more shall you look on the misery about me, /The horrors of my own doing! Too long have you/ known/The faces of those whom I should never have seen, /Too long been blind to those for whom I was searching!/From this hour, go in darkness!/” (Sophocles, 69). In this quote Oedipus shows a literal choice of blindness. Oedipus’ pain is shown through his words “ The horrors of my own doing” and “too long been blind to those whom I was searching” this expresses his realization of his ignorance and misunderstanding. When he says “ From this hour, go in darkness” he expresses his final choice to not see. He willingly blinds himself because he does not ever again, want to see his parents and face what he has done to them. He is never again going to see his family or subjects because he does not want to. This shows how desire controls sight. The motif now represents blindness, both literally and to the truth. The development of this motif shows that people have a choice in what they want see and that although we may not want to see something, it can be essential to our

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