What is the role of blindness in the play Oedipus Rex?

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Blindness is important in Oedipus Rex in both literal and symbolic ways. Perhaps the most horrifying literal portrayal of blindness in the play occurs in its ending, where Oedipus stumbles out from the palace after having blinded himself by stabbing himself in the eyes in remorse for his own actions.

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Blindness is important in Oedipus Rex in both literal and symbolic ways. Perhaps the most horrifying literal portrayal of blindness in the play occurs in its ending, where Oedipus stumbles out from the palace after having blinded himself by stabbing himself in the eyes in remorse for his own actions.

The other literal element of blindness in the play is that of the prophet Teiresias, who is led around by a servant, having been deprived of his vision by the gods before the play started, for having offended Hera. 

The main form of symbolic blindness is that of Oedipus, who despite possessing sight in a literal fashion lacks the ability to understand the significance of the things he sees. Although he sees Jocasta, he does not see that she is his mother. Although he saw an old man at the crossroads, he did not see that the old man was his father. Teiresias, when Oedipus taunts him concerning his blindness, responds:

 you have your eyesight, and you do not see

how miserable you are, or where you live,

or who it is who shares your household.

 

 

 

 

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