Theme Of Light And Dark Imagery In Oedipus The King

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Sophocles’ masterful work, Oedipus the King, exemplifies the significance of imagery within literature. The perpetual presence of light and dark imagery effectively strengthens the dramatic aspects of catharsis, anagnorisis and mimesis. These factors continually impose the audience to establish a personal connection with the literary work. As an individual, Oedipus possesses the unfortunate attribute of hubris; his ego ultimately causes his tragic demise and convincingly elicits catharsis, an emotional outcry from the spectators. His sight frequently sways due to his sentiments and it compels him to live ignorantly despite the calamitous truth of his origins. He profoundly disregards any indication of a secluded prophecy, one that states …show more content…
The distinct nature of this literary device reinforces Oedipus’ egoistic presence in the play and emphasises the existence of human flaws. The Theban sovereign assumes that he is incapable of immoral acts and thus the audience evokes pity at his hubris. For instance, as Tiraeus informs Oedipus of the truth, he viciously responds, “You can’t hurt me, you night-hatched thing! Me or any man who lives in light” (Sophocles 22). Within this quotation, the light metaphorically exemplifies knowledge and principle, while the darkness establishes the presence of ignorance and deception. Oedipus does not suggest that Tiraeus, a blind male, is incapable of hurting him, but rather, that the seer’s falsehood cannot damage his stature. Oedipus’ arrogance renders him to the point where he is incapable of interpreting the truth of his origins and profoundly desires to maintain his authority as the sovereign of Thebes. Consequently, his conduct incites catharsis from the audience as they witness the gradual collapse of a prominent, dramatic figure. Sophocles additionally utilises imagery to reinforce his clutch on the sentiments of the audience, during Oedipus’ revelation to the truth of his origins. In agony and grief, he states, “I am deserted, dark, and where is sorrow stumbling? Whence flits that voice so near? Where, demon, will you drive me” …show more content…
The mimesis of personal qualities, such as intellect and determination are present through the characterization of Oedipus. Despite his gradual demise, the sovereign’s egoistic nature exemplifies a human being who evidently has numerous flaws, which engages the audience. Within the play, for instance, Oedipus states his intent to find the murderer of Laius, “Then I’ll go back and drag that shadowed past to light” (Sophocles 11). Light and dark imagery play a prominent role in displaying Oedipus’ determination to apprehend the perpetrator, who is ironically himself. His tenacity exposes the mimesis of personal qualities, as there are human beings who persevere in the most strenuous scenarios. Sophocles utilises the terms, “shadow” (Sophocles 11) and “light” (Sophocles 11) to represent the ignorance and truth present respectively within humanity. These terms engrave themselves into the minds of the spectators who reinforce their comprehension of the work and establish a personal connection with the setting. This is furthermore evident, as Oedipus comprehends his inevitable fate. In a state of remorse, he states,” I am afraid – afraid the eyeless seer has seen” (Sophocles 42) and thus concedes to the truthful Tiraeus. His gradual admittance of the truth also reveals the mimesis of personal qualities, as human beings often

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