Blindness versus sight is a prevalent theme in “Oedipus the King”. Usually, people equate knowledge with sight. Expressions like “I see” and “seeing the truth” are used to express the understanding of something, but in this case, seeing is not the same as knowing. Oedipus, who is not literally blind, is blinded by the ambition to find the killer of Laius. All the while, Oedipus is the one who killed Laius. His ambition and his blindness is what eventually lead to his downfall. Teiresias however, is a foil to Oedipus. He is a prophet, and even though he cannot physically see, he can see the truth and understand what is happening around him.
When Teiresias tells Oedipus of his prophecy, Oedipus is astonished, and ignores what Teiresias says. Oedipus accuses Teiresias of making up his prophecy and tells him, “It has no strength for you because you are blind in mind and ears as well as in your eyes.” (Sophocles 440). This is ironic, since Oedipus is really the one who is blind. Oedipus’s blindness in this situation primarily comes from his arrogance and ignorance. He is confident that he did not kill his father, because he is Oedipus, and he thinks he is always right. Oedipus is also ignoring the fact that Teiresias knows what he is talking about since he is a prophet.
The irony of Oedipus’s blindness is displayed in many more instances. For example, when Oedipus is talking to the messenger,