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Essay on Oedipus Blindness

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You can be oblivious to the people around you. An example of this phenomenon is shown in the movie The Ugly Truth. The main character, a woman who is looking for love, and a man who doesn’t believe in love come together and they fall for each other. The man doesn’t open up to the idea that love is real until he has experienced this. Similar themes appear in a handful of books and movies. In the play, Oedipus the King by Sophocles, a man named Oedipus is led on a journey that he creates. He goes on this journey completely inattentive to believing the truth. Sophocles uses the motif of blindness to illustrate how pride can change the way you see things and act.

Throughout the book, Oedipus continues to be prideful and not listen to anyone. Tiresias is the first one to point out Oedipus’s flaws. Now that Oedipus’s expedition to solve the murder has started he talks to a man named Tiresias that tells him some things he doesn’t like. Oedipus reacts by saying “If you weren’t blind, I’d say that you alone struck him down” (21). Sophocles uses irony to show how Oedipus is the one who is really blind, not Tiresias. Oedipus is too caught up in his pride and how powerful he is to see what is really happening. He uses excuses to try and blame other people for what he might have done. Tiresias wants Oedipus to stop searching because he knows he won’t like the truth. He then gets fed up with Oedipus and tells him “I say that without knowing it you are living in shameful intimacy with your nearest and dearest. You do not see the evil in which you live” (22). The blindness that was over Oedipus is revealed after this fight because Tiresias has told Oedipus the truth, but he does not believe him. The shameful intimacy is between Oedipus and Jocasta, but Oedipus does not want to believe this because he knows if this were true then the prophecy is correct. Furthermore, Oedipus knows deep down that his pride is the reason he is oblivious to what everyone is telling him. This theme becomes more known throughout the book.

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Jocasta is another person in the play who tries to warn Oedipus about his weaknesses which will be his downfall. Jocasta is worried about the truth coming out and she knows that Oedipus will do anything to find out information about his origin. Oedipus found out that his so-called father died and tries to make up an excuse about why he died and says “Perhaps he died from longing to see me again” (53). The motif is shown when he uses the word to see. Sight is continuously used in conversation between others and Oedipus because Sophocles wanted to make it clear to the audience the blindness he experiences throughout the whole play. Jocasta fears that Oedipus is going to figure out the truth and tries to warn him by saying “Fear? Why should a man fear? His life is governed by the operations of chance. Nothing can be clearly foreseen” (53). Jocasta uses the phenomenon of a chance to try and transform the way of Oedipus. When she says nothing can be foreseen, she is trying to trick Oedipus into not believing the prophecy. Even though she believed in what the prophecy said, she is doing anything to stop him from continuing his search. Jocasta only wants the best for Oedipus and he might never listen to anyone other than what his mind is telling him.

Even though Oedipus has been cautioned by many people before he is still blind to what they are telling him. The shepherd is the one to reveal this information but does not do so willingly. Oedipus is trying to get information out of the shepherd and even tries to threaten him by exclaiming “If you won’t speak willingly, we shall see if pain can make you speak” (66). Pain is what is influencing Oedipus. He wants others to feel the struggle and pain he has gone through. He thinks before he acts which is why he started this journey in the first place. The shepherd does not want any more pain to be put on Oedipus and tries to help him by saying “In God’s name, master don’t ask any more questions” (67). The shepherd cares for Oedipus and does not want him to get hurt. When the shepherd uses God we know that he is serious because they are very religious. Oedipus continues to search and search for his father. His pride does not let him down. His ambition is strong, that is the one thing that you can count on from him is that once he sets a task he gets it done.

Oedipus and the characters in the play show the obliviousness people show toward the truth. In Oedipus, The King, the protagonist Oedipus loses himself to blindness. He stabs his eyes because the truth is too much for him to handle. After he does this unimaginable thing he finally realizes how blind he was to the truth and accepts his fate. No one wants to accept a truth that they don’t like, but people do, and being all caught up in it won’t do any good. Just as the film The Ugly Truth has portrayed which is that everyone can change. The movie also tells us that in order to find the truth you have to go through that journey unconcerned about life.

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Essay on Oedipus Blindness. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from
“Essay on Oedipus Blindness.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023,
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