Contrast the appearance vs. reality Oedipus' actions in Oedipus Rex.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In my mind, the most evident examples of appearance and reality exists in the Oedipus' subjective.  Oedipus believes one aspect to be the truth, while the reality is quite different. This lies in his rejection of the oracle and its prophecies, as well as his dismissive attitudes towards Teiresias.  Throughout the play, Oedipus believes his own subjectivity over the conditions of reality that might threaten such a vision.  It might be this desire to believe the appearances and constructs of consciousness that lead him to embrace his hubris, of excessive pride, as opposed to admitting that there might be some condition in the external worlds that contradicts what he might believe about himself.  When Oedipus believes his own sense of certainty about his reality, fueled by his own hubris, there is an embrace of false constructions of reality.  It is this collision between his own subjective and the harsh truth of reality that causes the tragic ending.  When he blinds himself, it is the blinding of his own belief in appearances and the embrace of a reality that he now sees in his own mind, but not with his physical sense of sight.

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