Sight And Blindness In Oedipus The King

2090 Words 9 Pages
In Oedipus the King, Sophocles emphasizes the eyesight of all of the characters; he draws the readers to consider both the literal ability of sight and sight of the truth. While enraged, Oedipus insults the blind prophet Teiresias, saying, "[Truth] has no strength for you because you are blind in mind and ears as well as your eyes" (370-372). Later, it becomes clear that Oedipus himself has been the blind one, in all senses. This focus on eyesight leads us to wonder why Oedipus thought blinding himself was a fitting punishment for his past crimes. To Oedipus, he is unworthy to look upon anything because of the blindness of his actions. Oedipus blinds himself for he feels that he is unworthy of looking upon the people of Thebes. In the beginning …show more content…
Because he becomes so blind to that fact, he feels instant regret when he realizes that he could have stopped the cities suffering quicker if he saw the truth. The messenger tells the chorus that, "He shouts for someone to unbar the doors and show him to all the men of Thebes, his father's killer, his mother's… for he'll cast himself out of the land, he says, and not remain to bring a curse upon his house" (1286-1292). Oedipus wants the city to see what he has done to himself as penance for the pain he has caused to them. In contrast, before he blinded himself, Oedipus ran away from the city to his house. He did not want any Theban to see him and think he felt no guilt about what he has caused. Though he did not face the truth went presented with it, he is now willing to leave the city in order to save it from the destruction he has caused. The fact that he did not want to make this announcement when he still could see, shows that he does not think he is worthy to look upon the citizens of his city because of the misery he had unknowingly caused them. The last thing he allows himself to see is the misery he put his city though. He would rather leave the city he loves forever, than stay and let the curse of his family ravage the land. Being blind shows his citizens his complete repentance from …show more content…
After Oedipus blinds himself, he calls his children to him, trying to explain the situation that has happened to them. This action shows that he has fully accepted what he did and wants to apologize to the people who his actions will haunt for the rest of their lives. Oedipus did not physically hurt his kids, but because of the circumstances of their birth, they will be punished for something they could not control for the rest of their lives. Oedipus weeps, "when I think of the bitterness there will be in your lives, how you must live before the world… Such insults you will hear. Who will marry you? No one my children; clearly you ate doomed to waste away in barrenness unmarried" (1487-1502). Because of his mental blindness throughout his own life, Oedipus causes his children to have a life full of insults and loneliness. Even before Oedipus learned the truth, or even was accused of anything, the ignorance of his parentage allowed him to have children with a wretched life ahead of them. He did not know that Jocasta was his mother either at the time of marriage or conception, he was blind to this fact. Being blind to the incest did not only hurt the partakers in the act but also the offspring it produced. Oedipus directly causes the harm that will come to his children during their lives, which makes him believe he is unworthy to look upon his

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