Blind Oedipus Essay, Research Paper
In “Oedipus The King” by Sophocles, we see a man, Oedipus, who can see but cannot see at the same time. Oedipus has been chosen to look for the murderer of the former king, Laius. Little does he know that he, a few years prior, was the one who killed king Laius. He has also been destined to kill his father and marry his mother, which he knows he’s destined but does not see that he already has. There are many factors in the story that give Oedipus hints and clues that tell him that he killed king Laius, his father, and married his mother Jocasta.
The elders suggest that Oedipus consult the blind prophet Tiresias. Tiresias will tell Oedipus the truth on who killed Laius. When Tiresias arrives, Oedipus asks him to tell him who killed Laius. Tiresias tells Oedipus that he cannot tell because he would not like the answer that he is going to give, but Oedipus orders him too speak. Tiresias tries telling Oedipus discretely that he is the killer, but Oedipus cannot see because he is blind to see the truth. Finally Tiresias comes out and says to Oedipus that he is the killer. Tiresias says “I say you are the murderer you hunt” (line 413), but Oedipus still refuses to see that he is killer and mocks Tiresias because he cannot see and science he cant see he is lying. Tiresias even says that Oedipus is the blind one that cant see what is going on, he says” so, you mock my blindness? Let me tell you this. You with your precious eyes, you’re blind to the corruption of your life, to the house you live in, those you live with-who are your parents? Do you know? All unknowing you are the scourge of you own flesh and blood the dead below the earth and the living here above, and the double lash of your mother and your fathers curse will whip you from this land one day, their footfall treading you down in terror, darkness shrouding you eyes that now can see the light”(lines 468-479).
Jocasta also tells Oedipus things that he should take as hints as to his past and present. She tells him about a son that she and king Laius had but the son was sent off by a henchman to fling on a barren, trackless mountain. Then Oedipus starts to question when Laius was killed and where he was killed. Then he begins to recall that he also killed some men at that same place and about the same time, but he still doesn’t believe that it could have been him. He then recollects on a time in Corinth, were he is from, of a time that a man told him that he was not the son of Polybus, king of Corinth. Unknown to his parents he went to Delphi to talk to Apollo he said “you are fated to couple with your mother, you will bring a breed of children into the light no man can beat to see-you will kill your father, the one who gave you life!” That is why he went to Thebes that way he wouldn’t kill his father and marry his mother. On his way to Thebes he stopped at the place were they say the king was killed and faut and killed a group of men and a man in a horse drawn wagon that resembled that of the man Jocasta had spoken of. Then realizes that he did kill king Laius, also his father, and married his mother Jocasta so he considered him self-the foulest of all mortals. When Jocasta gets word of this she hangs her self. Oedipus is so mad at him self that he rips off her brooches, and with long gold pins stabs him self in the eyes and says out loud, “you, you’ll see no more pain I suffered, all the pain I caused! Too long you looked on the ones you never should have seen, blind to the ones you longed to see, To know! Blind from this hour on! Blind in the darkness-blind!”
So know we see that at first Oedipus wasn’t really blind he just couldn’t see the truth. Know he is blind because he can see what he has done and the pain he has caused. So he decides to not see to stop some suffering by not having to look at the faces of the people that he once ruled over and his children’s faces. So know blind Oedipus is know really blind.
Sophocles, “The Three Theban Plays”(Penguin Books)1982 Newyork Newyork