Greek tragedy is a drama in which the main character is bound to suffer extreme sorrow as a consequence of a moral weakness. Sophocles is a Greek tragedian who wrote a play that demonstrates one of his summit achievements, know as Oedipus The King. The play is a greek classic based on the downfall of Oedipus the king of Thebes, who is trying to save the city by solving the murder mystery of their previous king Laius. He sent out his brother-in-law Creon to Delphi for advice from the greek god, Apollo, on how to save the sinking city. Creon delivers the news and Oedipus is willingly taking action to find the murderer of Laius. When he finds out from a blind prophet, Tiresias, that he is the murderer his ignorance leads him to denial and curiosity. Oedipus is the only person who solved the Sphinx riddle which clarifies he is knowledgeable. But he is blind and ignorant when it comes to his past. Sophocles embedded the symbolic motif of sight and blindness to correlate with knowledge and ignorance to demonstrate the irony within the play. Throughout the play, the words sight and blindness appear a lot to emphasize the idea that we blind ourselves from the truth which causes the lack of ignorance. The two main characters reflect each other by being equal but have different advantages. Sometimes people can not handle the whole truth and blind themselves from the harsh reality causing downfall. Oedipus ascends to the throne because he solved the Sphinx riddle. He married Jocasta, the queen and widow of Laius. A plague struck the city and the only way to rid the curse is to find Laius’s murderer. The people of Thebes worship and implore you because he got rid of the Sphinx without any extra knowledge or skill. They’re begging for his help to raise up the city to set them on their feet again. Oedipus tries to seek help from Tiresias because the leader believes the truth lives with him. Oedipus states, Tiresias is the “one shield and savior” that they have been looking for to save the city. Tiresias is asked to tell them everything he knows. Tiresias broke the silence and claims “you are the curse, the corruption of the land…I say you are the murderer you hunt” (401-413) is one of the truths that came forward after all the insult Oedipus gave. Oedipus is in denial because the response he was given made him feel betrayed and angry because he thinks Tiresias is making up stories. They go back and forth and Oedipus comes to the suspicion that Creon put him up to it because he wants the throne. Tiresias then says, Creon is not your downfall, you are your own. Oedipus mocks Tiresias blindness and he answers “you with your precious eyes, you’re blind to the corruption of your life” (471) demonstrates Oedipus’s lack of knowledge and sight. He can not see what’s right in front of him and he does not know that he is living the doom the oracle declared on him. One recurring question that is asked is “who are your parents” Oedipus believes the king and queen of Corinth are his parents. He went to the oracle to ask the gods if it was true that Polybus and Merope were not his biological parents. The oracle condemned him with a horrific prophecy that would change the rest of the play. His prophecy is that he will kill his father and marry his mom. Oedipus ran away from Corinth because he feared if he stayed it might come true. The irony of this is revealed when Oedipus finds out the truth about Laius’s death. His ignorance plays a big role because it made him blind to the life he was living. Tiresias is a blind prophet who “sees with the eyes of Lord Apollo” who might know who the murderer is. He was welcomed into the palace until he opened up about Oedipus past. He knew Oedipus was the murderer of Laius. He also knew about his prophecy and how he was living it. Teiresias is blind but he can see right through Oedipus and how ignorant he is. Tiresias says, “how terrible to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees” (359-360) knows Oedipus is blind to the truth. He is trying to tell him the truth but he does not care. Both characters reflect each other because they are both missing something the other person has. Oedipus the king can see and has knowledge in certain subjects. Tiresias the blind prophet cannot see with his eyes but he can see the future and has a lot of knowledge. The knowledge Oedipus is lacking, Tiresias is able to fill in because he knows what Apollo serves. Oedipus thinks he’s intelligent enough to know that Teiresias is not telling him the truth and it’s only a conspiracy. Tiresias is trying to say, Oedipus may not be physically blind but he is when it comes to what’s right in front of him he is. Oedipus is filled with anger and can not comprehend the words Tiresias speaks. Jocasta tries to calm him down after arguing with Creon about his place on the throne. He explains his conspiracy and how he sent Tiresias to do his “dirty work to keep his own lips clean”. She told him not to listen to the prophet because no one can tell the future. Jocasta tells Oedipus the time an oracle came to Laius. The oracle said his son would kill him and doom would strike him down. Before that could happen the baby was taken to the mountain to die “fastened his ankles and had a henchman fling him away on a barren”. When Jocasta told him the place Laius was murder, it clicked and Oedipus finally believed he was the one who killed him. Oedipus could not bear the truth that he decided to blind himself from it. The biggest consequence of his ignorance is blinding himself because “nothing I could see could bring me joy” (1472) the truth haunts him and he does not want to see any more pain. Oedipus thought blinding himself would get rid of the pain he caused and he wants to be exiled. Oedipus is blind to the truth about his past and he needs help from other people to understand what he caused. He finally realizes the pain he caused to the people around him. He ran away from his prophecy to only meet with his real parents and doom them. He killed his father, Laius and married his mother Jocasta. He cannot bear to see the pain any longer so he blinds himself.
September 3, 2019 0 Comments