“ Sight” and “Blindness” can be considered one of the main and most important themes in Oedipus Tyrannus. The themes of blindness and sight can be looked at both metaphorically and literally. When defining both physical and Metaphorical blindness, the following definitions are very useful: to be physically blind is, naturally, to be “unable to see,” and metaphorical blindness is an “ inability or unwillingness to understand or discern.
Throughout the play, throughout the play Sophocles keeps these two components at the center of the action and uses them to create dramatic irony. When reading this play the reader must take in to account who can “see” and who is “blind” either figuratively and literally. In the beginning of the play, Oedipus has perfect physical vision. However, he is blind and ignorant to the truth about himself and his past. He desperately wants to know, to see, but he cannot.
Oedipus’ blindness which must be considered is that many times throughout the course of the action he is warned not to pursue the matter any further, for fear that the truth could be damaging to him as the prophesies would suggests. The events are made all the more tragic at the point where he thinks he can ‘see’ when he at last realizes that he is in fact the murderer of Laius, and yet he is still blind to the final horrible truth. To make the situation worst Jocasta his wife advises Oedipus not to pursue the matter further: “Stop-in the name of god, …. ll off this search! ” Jocasta has seen the truth but Oedipus is only worried in she finds out he was not of noble birth.
Ironically, into the play the prophet, a seer, Teiresias, who is physically blind, but who is clairvoyant. This just makes Oedipus more ignorant to the true appearance of things. This man is blind but can “see” the truth about Oedipus, yet Oedipus, in all his physical perfection cannot see anything. Throughout the play Oedipus continuosly belittles and accused everyone of the crime that he is guilty of.
In Act II, Scene II he calls Teiresias a “blind and impious traitor Thus Oedipus’ ignorance, or blindness, is his hamartia, and were it not for this it is unlikely the audience would have been as pitiful of Oedipus as they would be when viewing Sophocles’ play in its present form—if Oedipus had acted knowingly at any time he would unquestionably been viewed of as the very model of inhumanity, and he would certainly not arouse the pity that ought to be aroused in a tragedy. As Oedipus says himself, “I simply didn’t know. “