Blindness Vs. Sight In the plays Oedipus the King and Antigone by Sophocles, the city of Thebes deals with two kings, who cause great pain to the city. In the play Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the very tempered king of Thebes, in which this city has a plague. Little does Oedipus know after blaming everyone else, he is the real cause of the disaster.
The Blindness Of Oedipus vs The Sight of Teiresias In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus wishes to avenge his city by finding and exiling the killer of the former king, Laios’s killer. Oedipus asks Teiresias who the killer was, or at least for a hint in the right direction. At first, Teiresias refused to tell him but after Oedipus insisted, he finally relented. Teiresias was a blind man but knew that Oedipus was actually the murderer, while the king’s arrogance blinded him from seeing the truth.
Antigone's actions consistently display her dedication to the will of the gods, and Creon's behaviour steadily exhibits his fierce devotion to state laws. Thus, this Greek tragedy compellingly establishes and thoroughly explores the intricate and perplexing relationship between the two themes by utilizing the literary device of
Oedipus discovers the body and is in so much grief he uses the golden pins that held Jocasta’s dress and “spears the pupils of his eyes” (93). This unbearable mishap is the last article of the proclamation that Oedipus carries out. Furthermore, in an attempt to keep his children, Creon advises him to “not be the master in everything. What you once won and held did not stay with you all your lifelong” (107). Oedipus was once a man that was not physically blind but in truth he was.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” said historian Lord Acton. In Sophocles’ Antigone, Oedipus the King of Thebes newly departs after disgracing his people, and his successors to the throne, Polynices and Eteocles die in battle, thus leaving his brother Creon to inherit his throne. From the beginning, Creon uses his newfound power to impose excessive punishments against not only the people of Thebes, but also his family. As a result, the Thebans recognize his abuse of power, and express their fears through not only the chorus, but also his son. To finalize his play, Sophocles exposes how Creon uses his power to manipulate the hierarchy in Greek society; consequently offending the gods.
Although throughout most of the play Oedipus is not physically blind, he is blind to the fact that his fate has come to fruition. When questioned about the former king of Thebes’ death, Oedipus claims that “[he] never saw the man” (Sophocles 7). However, it is later revealed that Oedipus killed the king and that he was his father, thus fulfilling the prophecy. Oedipus’ sight prevents him from seeing the truth and from accepting his fate.
In Sophocles's epic play Antigone, Creon is a leader who is too prideful and his hubris is the reason of his downfall. Creon’s fatal flaw is his hubris. Creon’s downfall includes the loss of his family and losing the trust from the people of Thebes. Pride will always be a problem.
Oedipus experienced blindness figuratively and eventually literally. The concept of sight and blindness in Oedipus Rex teaches many lessons. One lesson is that seeing something is based on one’s perspective, therefore it will not always be experienced the same way among different people. It depends on the way people perceive the information they receive.
His hubris, pride, let the truth be seen as false or not be seen at all. Second, Oedipus was physically blind. His physical blindness played into the role of the Greek tragedy. The blindness completed the tragedy for Oedipus. Every Greek Tragedy is supposed to end with the main characters experiencing their own personal tragedy.
When he became physically blind, he was able to learn to live with the truth of the prophecy (Haque and Kabirchowdhury 118). Oedipus demonstrates his final acceptance of his fate given by the gods in his final conversation with Kreon- “Give me what I ask for...drive me out of this country as quickly as may be to a place where no human voice can ever greet me” (Sophocles 1268). Oedipus lost his ability to see, and along with it his hubris. All he was left with was a forced exodus and a complete reliance on the gods.
He has been blinded to the truth ever since his whole life while Teiresias is blind and got no sight, but he is capable to see clearly the past, present and even the future (Rado, 1956). This brings the comparison between the physical sight and vision. Blindness and vision are two different things as brought out clearly in the play. Knowledge is in no way attached to the physical sight as one can be able to see but they had no vision as in the case of Oedipus the King and Teiresias (Calame, 1996). Oedipus feels that Teiresias is inferior compared even to him and cannot cause any threat to him, however, much he has the sight advantage; he has no exposure to the knowledge which Teiresias has.
Throughout the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, there is continual use of vision and blindness foreshadowing the events to come near the end of the play due to Oedipus’ ignorance. Ironically, most of the main characters with their sight still intact are blind to the truth and revelations that come to pass while the few that are blind see what is to come and what becomes of those spoken of in the prophecy. In a paradoxical trend, sight in the play can equal deception or ignorance while blindness represents truth or revelation. Oedipus is a brash man.
Oedipus’s selfishness and temper eventually lead to his downfall. Oedipus selfishness made everyone else mad at him for him not believing them. He kept digging and digging himself into a deeper hole. This eventually made his punishment at the end worse for him. He also could not handle the truth so this made him disrespect the gods.
Oedipus Rex Henry Rollins once stated, “Weakness is what brings ignorance, cruelty, and pride, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor.” In Sophocles play Oedipus Rex, Oedipus, the king of Thebes, weakness is his fate. Throughout the play, Oedipus is trying to outrun his fate because he feels the gods are subordinate to his powerful figure. Oedipus is seen as a god throughout Thebes because he defeated the mighty Sphinx, who was once haunting over the city. After defeating the Sphinx, Oedipus took over as king by killing his father and coupling his mother as his hubris blinded him from reality.