Oedipus father and married his own mother. Oedipus’ ignorance

Oedipus The King and Antigone, by Sophocles, are exceptional examples of greek tragedies. Sophocles uses blindness and vision as important motifs throughout both of these plays. Oedipus, the main character, is not able to see the truth, but the blind prophet, Tiresias, can “see” it plainly. Oedipus, known for his intelligence, is ignorant and as a result, blind to the truth about himself and his past. It is ultimately left to Oedipus to overcome his “blindness,” realize the truth, and accept his fate. Creon is yet another character that chooses to be blind to the truth by ignoring Tiresias when he warns him about his future. Overall, in both Antigone and Oedipus The King, the theme of blindness and vision is continuously demonstrated.      Blindness is not only a physical impairment, but also a mental flaw. Having 20/20 vision does not prevent blindness to the truth. Throughout the tragedy, Sophocles emphasizes the theme of sight and vision as a metaphor for insight and knowledge.Oedipus is “blind” to the fact that the fate that he had tried so hard to avoid, had come true without him knowing of it. In the meantime, the blind prophet, Tiresias, was the one who could actually “see” and understand the truth. Oedipus does not want to believe that he killed his own biological father and married his own mother. Oedipus’ ignorance on this situation is made even more ironic by the fact that he was made famous for his sharp insight, by solving the riddle of the sphinx. In order to blind himself, “…from her dress he tore/The golden brooches that she had been wearing,/Raised them, and with their points struck his own eyes,/Crying aloud that they should never see” (Sophocles 91-92). Oedipus dramatically blinds himself when his actions come to light. He finally gains his “vision” and realizes all of the bad things he caused. This realization prompts him to believe that he does not deserve to see at all because he was so blind to see his horrible actions. It took him a long time to realize what he had done and by the time he did, it was far too late. He blinds himself for committing this ungodly sin, which ironically leads to greater knowledge of what is truly worthy in his life. Also, when Oedipus learns who his father really was and that he has killed him, he stands down from the throne. This is another example of situational irony because it is through his father that Oedipus is a worthy ruler.      Tiresias is an old blind prophet with extreme knowledge and wisdom that everyone should respect. Even though Tiresias is blind, he is able to see the truth better than Oedipus and Creon, who can actually see. Tiresias tells Oedipus, “There! Go, and think on this; and if you find/That I’m deceived, say then-and not before-/That I am ignorant in divination” (63). Tiresias may be physically blind but he is confident in his ability to see the truth. Tiresias attempts to warn both Creon and Oedipus about their futures but neither of them listen which ultimately ruin their lives.      Creon and his blindness in Antigone…. The blind prophet, Tiresias, warns Creon, who can physically see but is figuratively blind to the consequences of his decisions, that by ignoring the laws of the gods, he will bring tragedy upon his family. Due to Creon ignoring Tiresias warnings, his niece dies, his son and wife die, and he loses his power because his pride did not allow him to have a change of heart regarding Polyneices and Antigone’s fate. The motif of blindness becomes evident because the blind prophet tries to warn Creon, yet Creon believes he can “see” the truth better than him. Creon is closed off to anyone’s opinions because of his pride. He does not want to seem weak to anyone by changing his mind about the burial of Polyneices. Even when Haemon asks that Antigone’s life be spared, Creon’s answer is a heartless, “You shall not marry her…” (26). Which then prompts Haemon to commit suicide to end his father’s power over him. Creon is blinded by pride, his unwillingness to compromise, and to appear defeated by a woman. Tiresias can see that tragedy will strike if Creon doesn’t rethink his decision and change his mind. Which is exactly why he advises Creon to open his eyes and see the truth. Although he does eventually change his mind, and come to see the error of his stubbornness, the events have spiraled out of his control, and he now must witness the destruction of his very own family.     References to eyesight and vision, both literal and metaphorical, are very frequent throughout both plays. Quite often, the image of clear vision is used as a metaphor for knowledge and insight. The references to eyesight and insight in these plays form a meaningful pattern in combination with the references to literal and metaphorical blindness. Oedipus truly believes that he knows more than Tiresias who is speaking on behalf of the Gods. Ironically, Oedipus is famed for his clear-sightedness and quick comprehension, but he soon discovers that he has been blind to the truth for many years. This prompts him to blind himself in order to not have to look at his own children and siblings. Creon is susceptible to a similar blindness to the truth in Antigone. Overall, both plays seem to say that human beings can demonstrate remarkable powers of intellectual insight, and that they have a great capacity for knowledge, but that even the smartest human being is liable to error. Sophocles utilizes vision and blindness to conclude that the human capability for knowledge is ultimately quite limited and unreliable.