Why is it appropriate that Oedipus is sightless at the end of the play?

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mperez-mugg21 | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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At the end of the play, Oedipus dramatically gouges out his own eyes using a pin from Jocasta's gown.  This act renders him blind to the world that he lives in and ultimately allows him to escape from the truth of his own misdeeds.  This ending is particularly fitting because Oedipus has been metaphorically blind throughout the whole play, unable to see the truth of the situation even though it has been right in front of him all along.  For example, Oedipus has many different sources inform him of various factors that establish his role in the murder of Laius but he is unable to accept that he is in fact the killer throughout the majority of the play.  Because Oedipus denies his involvement in the murder of Laius we can describe him as metaphorically blind to the truth and begin to understand the situational irony that occurs throughout the play.  As Oedipus finally comes to understand and accept the truth, namely that he has killed Laius and married Jocasta (who are his real parents), he is overwhelmed by the shame and guilt of his actions.  These emotions drive Oedipus to commit the act of gouging out his own eyes because he would rather live in a world of complete darkness than see the truth of his own actions.  

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