OEDIPUS THE KING: BLINDNESS AND SIGHT ERIC ALVAREZ ZABRINA CALAHATIAN NICHOLAS DOAN CLAIRE JEFFRESS SARAH SALVADOR BLINDNESS AND SIGHT Why is this so significant concerning Tiresias and Oedipus. Who all had sight regarding all the characters in the play? Who all chose to be blind and why?
Oedipus was not the only character or god who was physically able to see but psychologically blind. LITERAL MEANING OF THE TOPIC The topic touches on the ironic role both blindness and sight play in Oedipus Rex, with special emphasis on the characters of Tiresias, a prophet who cannot physically see yet can see the truth, and Oedipus, who has perfect sight but is blind and ignorant of the truth; it asks about other characters in the play who can see perfectly fine but make the personal choice to be mentally blind and deny the truth, for Oedipus was not the only one doing so. HOW THE TOPIC RELATES TO OEDIPUS The topic of being able and unable to see relates to Sophocles' Oedipus through the literal blindness of
the prophet Tiresias and Oedipus's normal ability to see to the mental blindness of Oedipus, who refuses to accept the truth of his doomed and tragic prophecy, but when Oedipus finally does acknowledge that his fate has settled in, he purposefully gouges his eyes out, making himself blind by choice. Sophocles' idea of presenting this play in the Greek theatre emphasizes the proverb that "Ignorance is bliss" and the belief that the gods determined an individual's fate no matter how much they run away from it. The truth is the truth whether you like it or not. https:// www.youtube.com/ watch? v=aGCRRcthBJk&t=1s EXAMPLE OF THE LITERAL MEANING OF
THE PROMPT #1 Obviously Tiresias was blind, however Oedipus was the character that chose to be blind through his own will once he realized the prophecy had come true. He gouged out his own eyes because he couldnt take the truth that had just been revealed to him, but also to get closer to nature in attempt never to be blind to a truth like this ever again. 1. he ripped out the golden pins with which her clothes were fastened, raised them high above his head, and speared the pupils of his eyes. (93) 2. Be dark forever noweyes that saw those you should never have seen (93)
EXAMPLE OF THE LITERAL MEANING OF THE PROMPT #2 Our prompt asked for another character who was also blind to the prophecy, and Jocasta is that character. Throughout the play Jocasta gives information of Oedipus' past, such as his father's death and his attempted murder at birth, and she realizes Oedipus is the culprit but not before being blind to the truth for quite some time. 1. I shall not call your name againever! (78) 2. "May you never find out who you are! (78) THEME CANNOT ESCAPE FATE
Before the story begins, Apollo delivers the prophecy that Laius's child would murder him and marry his wife. Fearful Laius sends for his son to be murdered, but this son, Oedipus, survives, and eventually does kill him, leading to the central conflict of the story. As Oedipus searches for Laius's murderer, more is revealed about his background. Living in another land, he is given the same prophecy by Apollo. He believed his father to be Polybus, and he runs away to Thebes as to not murder Polybus. In doing so, he runs into Laius and kills him, fulfilling the prophecy they both attempted to avoid.
STRUCTURAL IRONY Oedipus serves as a nave protagonist, as he is unwilling to accept the truth about his origins and the prophecy he attempted to escape, lending to the structural irony. His twisted sense of who he is to Thebes, savior rather than bringer of Apollos curse, shows his metaphorical blindness, which becomes literal blindness after he sees the truth. His naivety helps to progress the story and helps the audience follow along, as every point that may seem obvious is spelled out for Oedipus and the people of Thebes.
DEFORMITY ARCHETYPE Deformity is seen throughout Oedipus the King, first by his swollen feet and ultimately by his selfinflicted blindness. This archetype can be used to show an obstacle the character must overcome, a punishment, or a physical reminder of their history. Oedipus's ankles remain "a dreadful mark of shame," and they play a key role in uncovering Oedipus's origins (Sophocles 74). When Oedipus blinds himself, he aims to prevent himself from seeing his sins, both punishing him for his wrongdoings and permanently reminding him of them. SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS #1 Revelation of Oedipus' Birth The discovery of Oedipus' birth from the Shepard's tale demonstrates Oedipus lack of sight figuratively
as he refuses to acknowledge a prophecy given from Apollo and attempts to run away in order to escape it. However, he unintentionally fulfills the prophecy by murdering his real father at a crossroad as foretold. Oedipus comes to a slow realization eventually as Jocasta recounts the details of the death of Laius and gradually becomes too curious in his pursuit of the origins of his birth, with the knowledge driving him to madness and a state of pity where he is blinded by the truth. Eventually, the whole truth comes into light where Oedipus was abandoned as baby but saved by the Corinthian messenger, leading to a chain of events in fulfillment
of the prophecy. SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS #2 Oedipus Sentences Creon to Death The particular moment in the play further emphasizes how psychologically blind Oedipus remains until the end of the story. Oedipus is clearly upset upon being accused by Tiresias as the murderer of King Laius and in his madness, he accuses his loyal friend Creon for setting him up as the murderer in order to throne him. In his fit of anger, he sentences Creon to death for his false actions of betrayal, demonstrating that Oedipus refuses to yield to his wrongdoings and acknowledge Tiresias' wise words, who held all the sight of Oedipus eventual downfall as a
hero. In other words, his ability to see physically resulted him to ignore wise words of wisdom and desire some scapegoat as an outlet to vent his frustration or anger upon Tiresias insult to a king. It is only when he is blind that Oedipus accepts his predetermined fate and exiles himself. SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS #3 Oedipus Loses His Eyes Not only is Oedipus is psychologically blind, he also lost his sense of physical sight due to witnessing the suicide of his mother/wife Jocasta. Here, Tiresias' words come true once again as Tiresias envisioned Oedipus as one man living in shame, on the account of his incest with his very own mother. At the cost of his very ability to see, Oedipus gains the knowledge revolving around his birth as the previous kings son in Thebes. Despite countless warnings from Tiresias, Jocasta,
and the shepherd, he is overwhelmed in misery and shame. His lost sight can be interpreted in a manner that suggests Oedipus requires no vision anymore because he no longer needs to pursue the truth upon accomplishing his goal as well as mark his fall from a hero and king since he is unable to serve any of those roles blinded. Additionally, Oedipus had already fulfilled his purpose in life by completing the prophecy. 2004 AP PROMPT Critic Ronald Barthes has said, "Literature is the question minus the answer." In Oedipus Rex, considering Barthes' observation, analyze a central question to which the work raises and the extent to which it offers answers. Explain how Sophocles treatment of this question affects your understanding of the work as a whole There were many questions answered throughout the play that made the strings connect and the story cohesive. The greatest question, however, that was left unanswered was Apollo's reasoning for giving
Oedipus that prophecy. In the big picture, everyone in the novel besides Apollo and the Gods, was blind. While some could see the truth and some failed to acknowledge it, all characters are at the mercy of the Gods and do not know what may happen to them next. This question is likely not answered because the Gods do not need an answer it. The Gods have ultimate power and vision, and therfore do not need to justify their actions to those below them. 2017 AP PROMPT "Oedipus Rex" features a character whose origins are unusual or mysterious. Analyze how these origins shape the character and that character's relationships, and how the origins contribute to the work as a whole Oedipus' origins were mysterious for many reasons. First of all, as a baby Oedipus' fate was already determined for him from the prophecy. Even as a baby who had not sinned, his fall was already guaranteed. Also, because he was raised to believe the Shephard was his birth father, he was always
blind to the truth. These unusual origins shaped the character he became, because the majority of ones character development occurs when they are young. His origins, and not knowing he was Laius' son, lead him to be blind for the majority of his life. He so strongly did not want to believe his prophecy had come true that he convinced himself constantly that it wasnt true. CITATIONS Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Translated by Bernard Knox, Pocket Books, 1959. Pictures: https://78.media.tumblr.com/35ec2fb7f887ae70451bc04238fc41e0/tumblr_owcx7pTvI51s61xw9o1_500.gif https://i.ytimg.com/vi/2snMWhJwTIs/maxresdefault.jpg https://media1.s-nbcnews.com/i/newscms/2016_22/1106326/bethany-hamilton-today-tease-160531_5a6155ae67ae67c8da44910a1e100c93.jpg https://pm1.narvii.com/6142/a2ac393d4da5df4a101b4d60a5cebf785050be4a_hq.jpg https://i.ytimg.com/vi/pkwGnBfOl2c/maxresdefault.jpg
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