The Downfall of the Hero, Oedipus Rex

Essay by megdipasCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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The Greek tragedy, Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles is an excellent play; however, experts have debated many issues about this play for many years now. For example, some cannot even agree on the title of this play. There are many debated titles which include: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus, and Oedipus the King. However, there is little debate on the role that blindness plays in this ancient tragedy. Blindness is the downfall of the hero, Oedipus. Not only does become blind physically, but in the beginning he is blind due to ignorance, and then he later becomes egotistically blind.

Although Oedipus does not become physically blind until the end of the play, he is blind because of his ignorance from the very beginning. He is this way because he was never educated about his past. He does not know the truth about where he came from or who his real parents are.

He is in a way ignorant to his own past, or rather; he is blind. This is not his fault, and therefore he cannot help being blind in this way.

When he meets the men at the crossroad he does not know that the old man that he killed for whipping him was his father. As far as he knew, his father was the King of Corinth. Also, when he goes to Thebes, he is still blind in this way. He marries Jocasta, not knowing that she is in fact his biological mother and his children will turn out to be his siblings.

When it is suspected that Oedipus may be responsible for the murder of Laius, he becomes egotistically blind. That is, he blinds himself from the possible reality that he may be the murderer that he is looking for. The people of Thebes are informed that...