Light and Darkness In the story, Oedipus the King, Sophocles employs the imagery of light and darkness. Light is associated with understanding, and darkness is associated with ignorance. Tiresias is thelight of the play. Oedipus is the darkness. Oedipus is known for his intelligence; however, he is ignorant.
Therefore, Oedipus is blind to the truth about himself and his past. Yet, when Tiresias exposes the truth he is shunned. Then, in an ironic conclusion, when Oedipus is finally convinced of the truth, he blinds himself. He doesn't want to see the truth anymore, and he pokes his eyes out.
In the beginning of the play the people of Thebes hope someone will "find them their safety and a remedy" to the problems that plague their land.
The whole city "is laid to waste, all emptied, and all darkened. The people of Thebes are hoping Oedipus will be able to bring knowledge/light to their situation.
Oedipus has done this once before by answering the riddle of the Sphinx.
He brought light to the darkness.
As the play continues, Oedipus sends Creon to Delphi to speak with Apollo. As the news is read out, the people of Thebes do not yet know that Oedipus is the perpetrator. The people are simply coming to the darkness in search of light. The only way to bring light is to expel the darkness that lurks in their land.
The idea of sight is extremely critical in the play. Even though Tiresias is physically blind, he sees the truth from the beginning. However, Oedipus, who has eyesight, is blind to his fate. He eventually makes his eyes blind when he learns the truth and finally does see.
EXAMPLES: 1. "Then I'll go back and drag that shadowed past to light" 2. "You can't hurt me you night-hatched thing" 3. "But not for you, you purblind man" 4. "I live on hopes- all blind for today and blind for tomorrow" 5. The Gods are looked upon a lot with the Sun, a source of Light.
6. " At least your father's death has lightened up the scene" 7. "Will bring light to light the perfect agony of self inflicted pain" 8. "Oh, most inhuman vision" 9. "That voice lights up my darkness"