Blindness Essay Oedipus King

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King Lear, Gloucester, and Oedipus are “blind to the truth” in the beginning of the plays, and then experience some form of catharsis, the spiritual purging of emotions.

In the end of the plays, all the blind characters gain the ability to “see”. Before he divides his kingdom, Lear asks his three daughters to profess their love for him, “Tell me, my daughters / …which of you shall we say doth love us most” (Shakespeare. This is one of Lear’s downfalls, his overweening pride, or hubris, he wants to put on a show and have his daughters boost his ego in front of an audience. 115.), as well as the symbolic blindfold he has been wearing since Act I.

Sophocles uses these ideas effectively in highlighting the ignorance and enlightenment of Oedipus throughout the play, proving that Sophocles himself must believe that knowledge is key in life, and anyone who is ignorant is truly living in darkness.

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…You cannot hurt me, nor any…who beholds the light, your life being all one night (Sophocles 14).

In this statement, Oedipus makes no distinction between physical blindness and close-mindedness.

…smote the nerves of his own eyeballs, saying…they should see no more evils; darkling, …let them gaze on forms they might not see, and fail to recognize the faces he desired (Sophocles 45).

This passage once again shows Oedipus equating physical blindness with ignorance, as he removes his sight in hopes of removing the knowledge of the terrible deeds he has performed.

Many statements made by Oedipus in this play show not only the conflict between others' knowledge and his ignorance, but also the irony of what he believes to be true.

"...except for you; ...blind as you are in eyes, ears and mind! You cannot hurt me, nor any..beholds the light, your life being all one night" (Sophocles 14).


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