sophocles’ oedipus rex

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Persistence of Fate: The Unmaking of a King (a position paper on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex)

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Page 1: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Persistence of Fate:

The Unmaking of a King

(a position paper on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex)

Page 2: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Persistence of Fate: The Unmaking of a King

Oedipus:

“Think of it: I have touched you with these hands, These hands that killed your husband. What defilement!

Am I all evil, then? “

The inevitability of Oedipus’ fate defines his innocence of the crimes he

committed because he just finds himself in a world of predetermined future where fate persists

and where existing laws are not fully understood.

Overview of the Drama

Great values on the quest for knowledge, for the truth, prevailed on

Ancient Greeks. It is not surprising that Greek dramas reflect the Greeks’ conceptualization and

expression of ideas, especially their ideas of what is true and vital in life. This is evident in Greek

tragedies where life is imitated seriously and completely. It allows for the artistic presentation

and representation of life at its ‘worst’. Greek tragedies simultaneously showcase and pursue

the truth by eliciting strong emotions, understanding and, sometimes, even more questions

from people. These are exactly what Oedipus the King, one of the most popular Greek

tragedies, does. It raised question about what is morally right or wrong, what and how things

go under our moral responsibility, how free is free will, is there determinism, can free will and

determinism coexist, how powerful is divine authority, how can knowledge shape you or

Page 3: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

destroy you. These are only some of the questions that arise from Oedipus the King which

made it a popular, interesting, and controversial Greek Tragedy.

Oedipus the King or Oedipus Rex is written by Sophocles, one of the three

Great Greek Tragedians, Aeschylus and Euripides being the other two. Oedipus Rex is a perfect

example of a classical Greek tragedy which features a noble, dignified hero who undergoes a

change in fortune from good to bad due to an error or frailty called hamartia. Reversal of

intention and dramatic irony is also clearly executed in line with the main catastrophe in

Oedipus Rex.

Oedipus, our tragic hero, in some way or another has all of the four

characteristics of a tragic hero. He is noble, proper in terms of ability in internalizing societal

norms, consistent in what he does or says, and universal or true to life. It is not hard to feel for

him and actually feel his downfall when the most important characteristic of a tragic hero

consumed him – his tragic flaw - which comes in the form of hubris or extreme arrogance and

pride.

“The tyrant is a child of Pride

Who drinks from his great sickening cup Recklesness and vanity,

Until from his high crest headlong

He plummets to the dust of hope “

He started off with a noble deed, the justification of the previous king’s

murder and the salvation of the town from the plague. But due to fate’s play, along with

reversal of intention and extreme pride we ended up watching the unmaking of a king, hope

Page 4: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

going up into flames and turning into dust. How it happened and why, starts the train of

questions that rain down from Oedipus Rex. Is Oedipus’ downfall a consequence of his

individual actions or is it really the ending of his predetermined fate?

The play opened with a priest leading a bunch of other people to ask King

Oedipus to find a solution to the plague that slowly kills the town of Thebes. They look up to

Oedipus so much since he freed the town from the sphinx by solving its riddle and he has

become a wonderful king to all of them. It is later known that Oedipus has already sent Creon,

the brother of his wife Jocaste, to oracle of Apollo to ask for solution for the plague. Creon went

back with the news that the banishment of King Laios’ murderer will end the plague. Oedipus

immediately took on the job of finding the murder not only to stop the plague but also to save

himself from the threat the murderer may pose against him. He issued a policy statement that

stated the law and punishments that would be charged against the murderer. To speed up the

search, Teiresias, a fortune-teller was brought in. He refused to answer Oedipus‘ questions but

Oedipus was persistent. In the end, he said that Oedipus is the murderer whom he seeks and

that he is living in shame with his family. Oedipus became furious and started mocking

Teiresias’ blindness, accused him of being unpatriotic, and being part of Creon’s plan of bringing

him down. This eventually led to a shouting match between Oedipus and Creon but Jocaste

came to break it up. In order to prove that fortune tellers like Teiresias are fraud, Jocaste ended

up telling the unfulfilled prophecy of her baby with Laios. Their baby was predicted to kill Laios

and marry her. She said they left their baby to die in the woods and that Laos died in the hands

of robbers in the place where three roads meet. Oedipus asked which three roads as reality hits

Page 5: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

him that he might have been the one who killed Laios. Oedipus then tell them about the

prophecy that predicted he will kill his father and marry with his mother; the prophecy that

made him leave home and encounter strangers on a place where three roads meet, strangers

who he killed. Oedipus convicted himself as the murderer of Laios. Just as he was planning to

banish himself, a messenger came to inform them that his father from Corinth died and that he,

Oedipus, is adopted. Another realization came and it came in hard. Jocaste finally realized what

happened – Oedipus is her son that they tried to kill in the woods. She ran into her bedroom,

screaming. She locked the door and a few minutes later, Oedipus came in, and broke down the

door. He found Jocaste hanging-dead. Oedipus took the body down, then removed a pin from

her dress. He stabbed it again and again into his eyes, complaining how blind he had been all

this time. The play ended with the chorus saying that the real absence of pain would only come

with death.

A couple of scenes into the drama, we saw the dilemma of Oedipus – his

free will fighting against his predetermined fate, his pursuit for knowledge fighting against his

reluctance/arrogance to accept the truth.

Free Will vs. Determinism

“Oedipus has the freedom to decide bravely or to play

the coward, to deal justly or to do evil, but whatever his decisions or desires, the transcendent destiny works its

inexorable will.”

(Thorslev, Jr., P pp. 21).

Page 6: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Free will is the power of human beings to bring goals, or desires into existence. It

is a kind of self determination wherein our every action is determined by our purposes (Kane, R.

pp. 2). It is the ability of a human being to convey personal choice, choose among alternatives

based on one’s desires and values. Oedipus often uses his free will to exercise his right to

acquire more knowledge regarding the cause of Thebes’ plague, the murderer of King Laios,

and later on in finding out the roots of his true identity. According to Thorsley, Jr. (pp. 8), when

we exercise our free will, the products are free acts for which we are causally responsible. In

this sense, Oedipus’ tragic reversal of his fortune can be attributed to his past actions and its

consequences. In other words, he can be held responsible for the crimes he committed –

murder and incest. But then, the term free, free will, free act, and freedom are problematic

because there will always be the question of how free is free.

Thorsley Jr. then added that freedom is the absence of external

constraints that impedes the realization of one’s desire or purpose. He also defined free acts as

acts that must originate purely from the self – free acts are expression of oneself. Oedipus’

decision to leave Corinth did not originate from himself alone, a prophecy made him to do so.

Also, his intention of escaping his prophecy was impeded by the fact that his adoptive parents

did not tell him the truth of his birth – this is an external constraint that he has no control over

with. By these, his act of murdering his father and sleeping with his mother could not be

attributed as an act of free will. Moreover, he could not be held responsible for these acts

which are not entirely his own.

Page 7: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

On the other hand, determinism or the existence of destiny means that

people shares activities toward the conscious or unconscious realization of a goal. If it is

Oedipus’ fate to kill his own father, then his father is a necessary part in Oedipus’ life in order

for that destiny to happen. The fulfilment of this destiny could happen even if it is no one’s

desire or intention as oppose to free will that entails purpose/ intention in every action. From

this argument alone, we could deduce that Oedipus’ murder of King Laios is not done out of

free will because he has no intention of killing his father. Had he known that Laios is his father,

he would not have killed him.

Oedipus Rex showed a tragic story on which both of free will and

determinism coexist. This is possible because although our future or our end is predetermined,

we design our own course of life that leads to that end (Thorslev, Jr., P pp. 12).

As Teresias said it in the drama:

“You weave your own doom”

Hobbes also adds, as cited in Kane (pp. 7), that we are free to do what we

want or need; however, our needs and wants are determined by “antecedent circumstances or

causes” or in the much broader sense by the Gods. Oedipus is free to escape from his fate but

that escape was determined by the Gods specifically by Apollo. If that prophecy had not been

made, no intention of fleeing Corinth will be made, no murder of King Laios could have

occurred. But since the Gods want this kind of end for Oedipus, they provided him with an

intention, with a choice. How Oedipus will carry out his choice base on free will determines

Page 8: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

how he will meet his end, how he will accomplish his fate. The Gods will dictate what picture

we will draw but the design will always be up to us.

It is Oedipus’ fate to kill his father but the way he met that end was a

consequence of the interplay of his and others’ actions and the level of external constraints –

the free will of human to act and interact and the subsequent weaving of destiny based on

those acts. “Freedom and destiny, so defined, are not contradictory or mutually exclusive:

indeed, the freedom of self-expression is perhaps a necessary condition of any human or social

destiny” (Thorslev, Jr., P pp. 15). Oedipus has the freedom to flee from home the moment he

received the prophecy that says he will kill his father and marry his mother. His adoptive

parents have the freedom to stop him but they did not. These free acts, their expression, and

subsequent effects, allowed for Oedipus’ fate to persist.

Bramhall (pp. 30) said that “though a man have the power to do what he

wills, if the will in turn “has no power over itself, the agent is no more free than a staff in a

man’s hand”. Oedipus has the will of not killing his father and not marrying his mother there is

no question about that. Desire for getting an intention done is not enough to give power on

that intention, the capability of that person and the presence of external constraints will come

into play. In equation form:

PG = C x D + F

where: PG = Powered Goal; the possibility of reaching a goal, of carrying out a plan,

C = Capabilities: physical, emotional, psychological, financial, legal etc. and freedom

Page 9: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

D = Desire of realizing the goal

F = Fate, the absence of external constraints

Based on the equation, if even one between capabilities and desire is

zero, a goal can still be achieved if fate has a value. If we have desire on accomplishing the

opposite of PG, D will be negative, and we also have negative capabilities (C) on carrying out

that goal (- C x – D = - CD) but there are absolutely no external constraints and external factors

are even in favour of PG, such that F is greater than CD, PG will still have a value. It shows how

at every situation, fate dictates what will happen. Even if Oedipus has the opposite intention of

murdering his father and marrying his mother, fate shows to have a very high value because

Oedipus still ended up committing the crimes he has been avoiding. If this is the case, it shows

that a person have the possibility of committing actions he has no capabilities and desire of

doing. A person who commits that kind of action like Oedipus has no responsibilities towards

what consequences that action may bring. Therefore, Oedipus is innocent of the murder of his

father and incest.

Thorslev, Jr., mentioned how the world of Greeks in epic and tragedy

depicts a transcendent destiny where free will has a place; thus, producing destinies that are

conflicting, inscrutable, and malevolent. Perhaps this depiction of fate is due to the need of

producing plays that are artistic and overly dramatic especially in the case of tragedy. Surely,

the relationship between free will and determinism is possible to be even more complex than in

the case of Oedipus. But for Oedipus who has done extreme measures in order to escape his

Page 10: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

fate, this kind of fate’s play as unbelievably inexorable as it may seem, still made him realize in

the end his tragic flaw. Knowing that what impedes him in the realization of his intentions is

intrinsic to himself only strengthens the fact that he could have done something differently. It

was not to mean having a different fate, but only a different course in fulfilling it. His cursing

and issuing of punishments for the murderer of King Laios was not part of the prophecy. It

might be planned by the Gods for him to commit murder and incest but his banishment and

blindness were not. That were Oedipus’ own design – a design that could have gone differently

if he were not too blind to see and too arrogant to accept the truth.

Interestingly though, Sophocles seems to suggest a world where you

should not question the power of Gods, let alone try to defy their will. It also suggests that

human should trust their gods and themselves. Determinism outweighs free will when Oedipus’

case is viewed in Greek context. Sophocles made it channelled although with a little subtlety,

that humans have great control over their lives but they do not realize this because of different

cases of hamartia. It reminds us that when something has gone wrong in our lives, we should

not blame others especially the gods, we should look at ourselves first. As far as free will is

concerned, we are free to make mistakes but we should accept our own failings. Oedipus

blinded himself as an acceptance of his internal blindness – a flaw that no one is responsible

but himself. He did not shout or blame the Gods for he knew in the end that the Gods may have

been leading him in ways that he was not able to see.

It should also be noted how Sophocles simultaneously showed how

prophecies are powerful enough to shape up or destroy one’s life. Oedipus’ predetermined fate

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persisted despite futile attempts of defiance – prophecies are true. Sophocles’ voice in the

drama seems to shout this fact but with nothing more than a whisper, Sophocles also voiced

out how prophecies require deeper understanding, it should be taken seriously and precisely.

The tragic turn of fate for Oedipus, since the first prophecy made even before his birth, showed

how prophecies are reversal of intention in itself so those who are actually seeking for solution

may just find themselves with another problem. Sophocles seems to paint a picture of the

world where there are certain lines between human and Gods, present and fate. “The fates and

oracles which drag Oedipus into unwitting sin and thence to destruction must be viewed as

symbolizing “irruption of the rational” into our ordered lives, those sudden reminders that

there is still much in our experience which is unforeseeable and indeterminate” (Thorslev, Jr., P

pp. 143). Sophocles acknowledged the complexities of prophecies in Oedipus Rex:

“The deeds and the strange prophecies

Must make a pattern yet to be understood”

It is not suggested in the lines but whenever faced with the unknowable

it is not always advisable to persist. Whenever we are in darkness we have to wait and trust the

Gods until the light comes. In context of the tragedy, Oedipus sprang to action when he first

heard his prophecy. He did not take a time to deliberate it, a time to even consider trusting the

Gods with his fate, trusting that after all, everything might go fine in the end. Sophocles has a

say on both sides of free will and determinism either explicitly or implicitly. Sophocles

worldview can be in no way defined, but what it suggests is that there are always two sides of

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everything – defiance and acceptance, freedom and destiny etc. Knowing both sides draws a

clearer picture of the world, of what is true, of what is vital in life.

Submission to divine authority, in light with the tragedy and in Greek context at

large, is necessary. Choragos uttered the following lines in the drama:

“How can God’s will

Be accomplished best?

That is what most concern us”

It reflects how Greeks even when faced with hard times do not think

about how problems can affect them but rather how their reactions to those problems will not

go against God’s will. This cannot be only called submission but also devotion to the Gods and

their will.

The drama also mentioned what will happen to those who defy the Gods:

“Haughtiness and the high hand of disdain

Temp and outrage God’s holy law: And any mortal who dares hold

No immortal Power in awe Will be caught up in a net of pain;

The fire for which his levity is sold”

Submission to a divine authority or to a God is neither a sign of weakness

nor an abandonment of individual free will; it is a sign of trust to a God whose decisions you are

willing to accept and respect. Though submission does not necessarily mean you are leaving

everything up to the Gods. It only means that you are acknowledging their power over you; that

you are willing to be part of a future that the Gods predetermined. “One needs some destiny in

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order to feel secure in the universe, to feel that one’s values are not merely one’s own, and to

face one’s death. (Thorslev, Jr., P pp. 18)” Considering Oedipus’ fateful end as a result of his

actions based on pure free will, his life is just a mess in the end – the end-product of his faulty

judgements and stupid mistakes. But if you consider it as a part of Gods’ plan, we know that his

life, however tragic it can be, did accomplish something. Submission to divine authority will

guarantee a purpose in one’s life that even death may even come as an accomplishment.

Innocence vs. Guilt

As it is now established how free will and determinism can coexist. There

are new issues that gave a different dimension on Oedipus’ guilt or innocence from the crime

he committed – does Oedipus’ ignorance of the crimes he commited justify it?

The final verdict – not guilty.

Thorslev, Jr. (pp.9) said that we have full moral freedom in our conscious

fulfilling of intentions that are conventionally acceptable. This means that we have no moral

responsibilities from actions we unconsciously committed and actions we have not done in

purpose. Of course that was from the moral point of view, from the legal point of view there is

another story. Legally, when a crime was committed someone has to pay. When you did not

mean it or you do regret a crime are out of the question of whether you are guilty or not. Once

done, there are consequences. But in Greek context, not all illegal is necessarily immoral.

Oedipus is guilty of killing a man, yes, but he is not guilty of killing his father; he accomplished

that action unconsciously. The same goes with him marrying Jocaste.

Page 14: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Knowing everything is thought to be having everything in hand. One can

easily find a solution to a problem with complete given. Endings can be planned or expected. It

seems that nothing will go out of control. Ignorance on the other hand is the opposite. Some of

the details are known, those that are not become a blind spot – a weakness, a flaw. Ignorance

caused Oedipus to commit disdainful crimes but it was knowledge that caused him suffering.

When the play begins, the prophecy is already fulfilled by Oedipus, the

problem only lies to the fact that he did not know what he have done. If Oedipus has the

knowledge of his past maybe he would be able to control what will happen in the future.

In order to have a better appreciation of our lives we should know truly

who we are, where we came from, the genealogy of our family and our ancestors. In the case of

Oedipus, he thought that he already knew himself, the first effect of his hamartia. This exhibits

the importance of “knowing thyself”. As what is already explained above, our free will

originates from ourselves. In order to have free will we should know who we are. Our identity

and personality determines the kind of judgements we will make and the choices we will take.

Finding our own identity and personality takes a lot of time. This renders us incapable of

making consistent decisions. However, this is a minor problem compared to having an identity

that is not your own. It is like living your life in the opposite direction where everything is

irrevocable. Some argues that Oedipus’ real hamartia is his lack of knowledge of himself.

Page 15: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

However, this lack of knowledge originated from his adoptive parents so he could not take the

full blame on it. Though it depicted how the full blow of consequences from not knowing

thyself exploded on Oedipus, it also showed how this can affect others as well.

In Oedipus’ case, he is so confident about himself that he only starts to

understand the meaning of “Know thyself” when he realized that he does not really know what

he really knows. But when it happened, it is already too late.

As assuring as full knowledge can be, it is still the ultimate inflictor of

Oedipus pain. It was partial knowledge that put the knife through him, but it was full knowledge

that made him feel the pain. As the drama starts, Oedipus already killed his father, he married

his mother and bore children with her. Yet, Oedipus stands as a great King of Thebes. Nothing

seems to be wrong. Considering what was said earlier that Sophocles tried to show both sides

of one thing: full and partial knowledge both have benefits and consequences. In the play,

Teiresias told Oedipus:

“How dreadful knowledge of the truth can be

When there’s no help in truth”

It just shows that some truth hurts and that the truth is not always the

answer. Sometimes, truth hurts even worse than lies. Either way, we just have to know how to

search for knowledge and to know how to stop.

Page 16: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

“A life unexamined is not worth living” the impact of this statement on

the life of Oedipus falls on the fact that he probably regrets most part of his life – from the

moment he received that prophecy up to the day Jocaste killed herself. What is sweet about life

is that no matter how many problems come, you could always go back to the moments that

made you laugh or smile. Oedipus probably has no more memories that could actually make

him laugh, let alone smile. His happy moments with his wife turned into moments of

‘unforgivable sin’, moments of crimes, and moments of regrets. His memories with his

daughters are overcome by his fear of their future. He feels responsible for their loneliness, for

their bad luck.

Oedipus is, yes, depicted a tragic character as can be seen in the irony of

his situation, he struggle to avoid his prophecy which he fulfilled unknowingly. In accordance

with the interplay of free will and determinism in the story, his life is tragic because we have

seen him struggle against a long lost fight. The will of the Gods made him a tragic character

because of all the people that could fulfil the Gods’ plan it was him who was chosen to bear the

burden of that kind of fate. It would not be fair for Oedipus attempts to escape his fate to call

him pathetic. Pathetic can be associated with people who have given up hope. When Oedipus

received his prophecy he fought it, up to the last minute. It cannot be concluded that what he

did was wrong or stupid but it certainly was not pathetic. He is a fighter, he has his flaws but he

fought with them. Oedipus might have gone down in the end but he went down fighting.

Page 17: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Sight vs. Insight

"Anyone who has common sense will

remember that the bewilderments of the eye are of two

kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out

of the light or from going into the light, which is true of

the mind's eye, quite as much as the bodily eye; and he

who remembers this when he sees anyone whose vision

is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he

will ask whether that soul of man has come out of the

brighter life, and is unable to see because unaccustomed

to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is

dazzled by excess light. And he will count the other one

happy in his condition and state of being, and he will pity

the other"

(Plato, The Republic)

It is not only with the eyes that one can see. Oedipus Rex depicts this

statement through the contrast between Oedipus and Teiresias. The play began with Oedipus

with eyesight and Teiresias, the fortune teller, without. Oedipus continually overlooks hints,

clues. Sometimes people outright tells him the answers to what he is seeking but he was too

shallow to see or too arrogant to hear. He wants to know the truth about who he is, where he

came from, what happened to the last king of Thebes, but when these are all made clear to him

he just gets angry and misses the point. This is Oedipus's figurative blindness. Though he has

literal sight, he can't actually 'see' anything right in front of him, and remains in blissful

ignorance.

Page 18: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Tiresias is a seer, and has seen in his mind what it is Oedipus wants to

know. He knows the horrible truth about Oedipus crimes. He can see beyond what the naked

eye can see. This is Tiresias' figurative sight. Despite being literally blind, he can see more than

Oedipus ever could.

To depict the contrast between Oedipus and Teiresias, Sophocles made

use of figurative and literal allusions. He used light and insight as a metaphor for knowledge

and truth. Sight and darkness was used to refer to partial knowledge or blindness for the truth.

Sophocles also depicted this difference between sight and insight in such a way that you cannot

have both at the same time. This is represented at the point where Oedipus become able to

'see' what is really going on, and he cannot bear it (specifically he cannot bear to look at his

children, knowing what they are and where they came from, the things which he so enjoyed to

look at with pride now forever tainted), so he gouges out his eyes with the pins of his

wife/mother's dress, becoming literally blind.

Teiresias uses his psychic abilities to foretell the suffering and destruction

that Oedipus will encounter after he learns the truths of his life. Teiresias is also responsible for

further developing the theme of blindness by using his own physical blindness to reveal to

Oedipus his inner blindness. Lastly, Teiresias is ultimately responsible for imposing dramatic

irony because of his great knowledge of the truth of Oedipus. In the play, the minor character

of Teiresias is responsible for foreshadowing Oedipus’ fate, developing the theme of blindness,

and also illustrating dramatic irony.

Page 19: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

“For irony everything becomes nothing.”

- Kieregaard as cited in Thorslev

The dramatic irony in the drama is heightened not only by Oedipus

mocking Teresias blindness and calling him a fool. The bulk of dramatic irony comes from

Oedipus and his quest for a murderer that turns out to be himself. He even said :

“I must bring what is dark to light”

Of course in here, he meant that he will find the one responsible for

Laios’ death. What he did not know is that his act of looking for the truth is actually lighting up

his internal eyes and extinguishing his external ones.

One of the memorable execution of dramatic irony is when Oedipus took

sides with the king thereby going against himself:

“Thus I associate myself with the oracle

And take the side of the murdered king”

It is also ironic that Teiresias was introduced as:

“This is Teiresias, this is the holy prophet

In whom, alone of all men, truth was born.”

Page 20: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Yet Teiresias himself said that truth is not an answer itself. It is like he is

removing his worth from his ability to see the future and even the past events.

Paradox, which came to suggest a statement which is contrary to

common sense, but is nevertheless maintained as true (Thorslev, Jr., P pp. 164) is illustrated by

the fact that Oedipus was able to see more clearly when he blinded himself and Teiresias who is

blind from the very start of the play can see more clearly than anybody else.

How irony and paradox really worked in conveying the contrast between

sight and insight is through Teresias’; a character that possess insight but lacks the physical

sight which Oedipus is too arrogant to acknowledge. It is Teiresias’ character in which irony and

paradox is exemplified; he is the ideal chracter to show that just mere sight is nothing without

insight. Through Teiresias’ ironic traits of having no capability to see the external world but

having the ability to have an insight on knowledge and the truth, Sophocles balanced world

view was emphasized.

When Oedipus and Teiresias converse, the conflict of sight versus insight

is evident; what Teiresias sees is what Oedipus is blinded of, or perhaps what Oedipus chose

not to see. Teiresias said:

“You do not even know the blind wrongs you have done them”

He showed how his insight is superior to Oedipus sight. Teiresias knows

that Oedipus is blinded by his arrogance, ignorance, and inability to accept the truth.

When Teresias added:

Page 21: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

“You mock my blindness, do you? But I say to you, with

both your eyes, are blind. You cannot see the wretchedness of your life, nor in whose house you live, no, nor with whom. Who are your father and mother? Can you

tell me?”

he pointed out that it was Oedipus’ lack of insight, his reliance and

confidence on what his external eyes can see that had kept him from the knowledge and truth

of his origin. The very own flaws of Oedipus fulfilled his prophecy. The persistence of his fate

worked its way through him and bore its way out through the sockets of his eyes. The unmaking

of a king becomes the making of an insightful banished man whose fate he now come to

accept.

Bibliography:

Bramhal, J. The works of john bramhall. vol. 4. Oxford: John Henry Parker. 1844

Dilman, I. Historical and philosophical introduction. Routledge. 1999

Kane, R. Free will and values. State University of New York Press, Albany. 1985

Plato. The republic. trans. desmond lee. 1955. 2nd ed. London: Penguin, 1987.

Thorslev, Jr. P. Romantic contraries. freedom versus destiny. Yale University Press. 1984