Diseases And Afflictions In Oedipus The King

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In ancient Greek literature, diseases and afflictions often play key roles within the story. In Sophocles 's tragedy Oedipus Rex, the presence and recurrence of afflictions are central elements to the plot. Oedipus and his city both possess conditions that determine the outcome of the play. The motif of ailments, like the plague and blindness, highlight the hubris and failures of Oedipus to demonstrate his reliance on the gods. The tale begins with the introduction of a plague that is ravishing the city, of which Oedipus is helpless against it; he is forced to rely on the gods. The plague is severe, causing high mortality, miscarriages, and stillbirths. According to the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, “[The evidence from the book] strongly support[s] the notion that the disease was incurable at the time” (Kousoulis,…show more content…
He blinded himself as a punishment for what he had done in his life. It is ironic that he blinded himself to hide acts of violence before him when he himself committed horrific acts of violence within his own life (Haque and Kabirchowdhury 117). Oedipus’s self-harm came from his failure to recognize the truth of his own existence. His constant denial of everything that he could not physically see was due to his hubris. When Oedipus was figuratively blind, he could not accept his fate. 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. The figurative blindness led him to the truth and the literal blindness compelled him into a total spiritual
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