ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Literature

Blindness in Humanity Displayed Through the Play Oedipus/hub/funfact

Updated on July 19, 2015

In the play Oedipus the King, Sophocles demonstrates the blinded path human beings face throughout life. His characters symbolize differently how the truth can be misguided to disrupt personal thoughts towards oneself and one’s fate. In the beginning, Oedipus is portrayed as a brave, noble king who has conquered the mighty sphinx and saved the townspeople of Thebes. Current conditions of this once proud city display lost hope as it is plagued by disease and famine. As one of the high priests humbles himself before his king he begs, “Therefore, O mighty King, we turn to you; Find us our safety, find us a remedy, whether by counsel of the gods or men” (Sophocles, 43-45).

Source

Oedipus is wounded by the pain and agony displayed by his beloved city of Thebes. Therefore, he sends his brother-in-law Creon to confront an oracle whom is a priest or priestess who acts as a “middle-man” between the Gods and mortals. Therefore, the oracle speaks with the Gods personally about conflicts that individual is having and provides a verdict to resolve the issue stated. Upon Creon’s return he reveals to his brother and the city of Thebes that:

By exile or death, blood for blood. It was

Murder that brought the plague-wind on the city. […]

My lord: long ago Laios was our King,

Before you came to govern us. […]

He was murdered; and Apollo commands us now

To take revenge upon whoever killed him. (Sophocles, 106-112)

This weighs heavy on Oedipus the King, and leaves the audience wondering who this defilement is that must be removed to protect the city.

Source

Throughout the play Oedipus is confronted by an older blind prophet, a messenger, and a shepherd who reveals that it is in fact he himself who should be exiled from Thebes. Although, the evidence weighs heavily against him Oedipus still fails to consider that he has murdered the last King of Thebes. The older blind prophet not only reveals that King Oedipus is the murderer of Laios, but also the victim of incest. What an awful thing to say? What an awful thing to become the victim of?

Oedipus is blinded so much by the thought of this insanity he curses the prophet for telling tales and leads him away. The prophet relays one last message before being led out of the palace:

The damned man, the murderer of Laios,

That man is in Thebes. To your mind he is foreign-born,

But it will soon be shown that he is a Theban,

A revelation that will fail to please.

A blind man,

Who has his eyes now; a penniless man, who is rich now;

And he will go tapping the strange earth with his staff;

To the children with whom he lives now he will be

Brother and father—the very same; to her

Who bore him, son and husband—the very same

Who came to his father’s bed, wet with his father’s blood. (Sophocles, 233-242)

Heartbroken with disbelief, Oedipus continues to search for other parties involved with the knowledge of Laios’ death.

Oedipus is not only influenced by his disastrous thoughts, but in fact his wife Jocasta tells him not to search further into the matter. A messenger is sent to the palace to advise Oedipus that his “adopted” father had recently passed. Jocasta, hides the truth even more when she states to her King, “Have no more fear of sleeping with your mother/How many men, in dreams, have lain with their mothers/No reasonable man is troubled by such things” (Sophocles, 67-69). Even though Jocasta knows the possibilities of her husband/son she fails to come to grips with the situation in her mind. Thus, leading Oedipus on a further journey to discover the truth and finally realize what his fate is.

In Tragedy and Civilization: An Interpretation of Sophocles, by Charles Segal he clearly states the main issue with Oedipus and his quest. “He lacks the basic information about his origins that gives man his human identity and sets him apart from the undifferentiated realm of nature and the anonymous, individuated realm of the beasts” (Segal, 207). Basically, Segal explains that as all human beings we feel as if we serve a purpose and if not that purpose what else.

Nearing the end of the play, Oedipus has finally realized that he murdered his father in cold blood. Thus, he also faces the fact that he is both a son/husband to Jocasta and a brother/father to his children. So many horrors and truths were explained to the King, while Jocasta finally admitted to herself that Oedipus was in fact her son. After coming to this realization she commits suicide by hanging herself to remove her life from the horrors within. Blinded by his fate and the truths being displayed to him he gather’s Jocasta’s golden brooches and stabs his eyes out.

At the beginning of the play, where have the townspeople gathered?

See results

In Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles’ Tragic Hero and His Time, Knox explains in depth an interesting viewpoint on Oedipus and his quest for his fate. In Knox’s opinion of Oedipus stated:

Oedipus learns who he is, seems right and indeed inevitable. But it is hard to accept. It means that the heroic action of Oedipus, with all that his action is made to represent, is a hollow mockery, a snare and a delusion. It suggests that man should not seek, for fear of what he will find. It renounces the qualities and actions which distinguish man from the beasts, and accepts a state of blind, mute acquiescence no less repugnant to the human spirit than the recklessness demanded by Jocasta's universe of chance. (Knox, 185)

This couldn’t give a more in depth analyzation of Oedipus and how his actions symbolize humanity. As we all search throughout life for meaning and purpose, we find that it may not be the answer we anticipated. As we all search throughout life for meaning and purpose, we find that it may not be the answer we anticipated.

Segal, Charles. “Tragedy and Civilization: An Interpretation of Sophocles”. Norman: The University of Oklahoma Press, 1981. Print

Sophocles. “Oedipus the King”. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama Ed. X.J Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Boston: Wadsworth/Cengage. 2013. 1207-1244. Print

Knox, Bernard. “Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles’ Tragic Hero and His Time”. Britain: The University of Yale, 1957. Print

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)