Where is enantiodromia seen in the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a highly intelligent question. It is best to start off with a definition of enantiodromia. It comes from ancient Greek and this term was coined by the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who posited a theory of opposites. For example, he famously stated, "the way up and the way down are one and the same." His point was that with all forces, there is an opposite force. In short, there will be equilibrium in the end.

Plato also believed in this. However, the person who made this idea most popular in the modern world was Carl Jung in his theories on human personality.

In light of these points, we are now ready to look at Oedipus. We can see enantiodromia most clearly in his blindness. We can say that as the tragedy develops Oedipus is the blindest character by far. He has no self-knowledge. He does not know that he killed his father and married his mother. Even when all evidence is pointing to his true identity, he cannot see.

At the end of the tragedy, the truth is finally made known and he is able to see the truth. By then he see all too clearly and his guilt is so great that he even blinds himself. This create equilibrium. The intensity of his blindness is now matched by the intensity of his sight. Even physically this works. He once had sight; now he is blind.

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Oedipus Rex

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