Essay about Sight and Blindness in Oedipus Rex

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In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the themes of sight and blindness are developed in a way to communicate to the reader that it is not eyesight itself, but insight that holds the key to truth and, without it, no amount of knowledge can help uncover that truth. Some may define insight as the ability to intuitively know what is going to happen, or simply as the capacity to understand the true nature of a situation. Both definitions hold a significant role in the play, not only for more obvious characters such as Oedipus and Teiresias, but also for Iocaste, whose true character is rather questionable considering her reactions to the events of the play, however, one can only speculate. With these themes in mind, one can see how Sophocles …show more content…
After doing so, she leaves the scene in passion and sorrow, seemingly as if she already knows the truth and simply wishes not to speak it. She seems to know more than she's letting on, as if this truth were a dark secret she's been keeping hidden all these years, though, given the text, one can only speculate. If this were the case, she too had contributed to Oedipus' ignorance and blindness, and, if it be otherwise, she'd be doing the same, but only delaying the inevitable. Another significant moment in which these themes play a major role would be the scene when Oedipus discovers his wife, who seems to have hung herself, in their room. After taking her down from the rope, he mourns her death, and, in such a state of sadness and feeling of loss, he takes her golden brooches to gouge out his eyes with them. It is in this state of blindness that he finally realizes his fate, the true nature of his birth, and gains the same insight that he accused Teiresias of falsely possessing. He finally understands the truth. However, the moment initially realizes this is at the end of scene iv when he says: ""Ah God! / It was true! / All the prophecies! / - Now, / O Light, may I look on you for the last time!" (62). That very last line indicated to me, when reading it literally, that he may have had already planned to gouge out his eyes before he had done so and that this gruesome act was not one of impulse alone. Whatever the case, the irony that it is only when Oedipus is