Discuss the theme of knowledge vs. ignorance in Oedipus Rex.

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question and a lot can be said. In light of this, I will make a few points.

First, Oedipus is portrayed as a man who is filled with knowledge and ignorance. He is wise in the sense that he was able to solve the riddle of the Sphinx in the past and he is a capable leader. But he is also very ignorant, because he does not know who he is. He does not know that he actually killed his father and married his mother. In other words, he is blind.

Second, there are others in the work that might seem ignorant, but are actually very wise. The blind seer, Tiresias, is the perfect example. He might be physically blind, but he is filled with vision and is wise.

Finally, at the end of the play when Oedipus finally understands what he has done, he blinds himself. This is an ironic ending.

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Oedipus Rex

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