Blind to the Remedy: Spiritual Awakening of the Hero

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This is just an essay our English II honors class we had to write. Work refernced in this Essay is from the second of the three thebean plays, Oedipus Rex, or, Oedipus the King. Our prompt was to write about one of the three motifs that we had discussed about the play (light vs. darkness, blindness vs. vision, and i forgot the other one). I picked blindness vs. vision. hence the title.

btw--sorry about the mismarked category ... they dont have a category for essays!! if there is a better category
please tell me. oh and sorry about the formating :[

Submitted: January 04, 2008

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Submitted: January 04, 2008

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Blind to the Remedy: A Spiritual Awakening of the Hero
In the dramatic masterpiece, Oedipus the King, Sophocles presents a man whose downfall is caused by his spiritual blindness. Oedipus, an educated intelligent man, encounters corruptions throughout Thebes that can no longer go unadressed. The god Apollo orders Oedipus to “drive the corruption from the land”, but when Tirersias names Oedipus as the “root of corruption” he refuses to see the truth. The blind prophet, who ironically enough, “… sees with the eyes of Lord Apollo”, this spiritual sight allows Tiresias to advise Oedipus. When Tiresias names Oedipus as Laius’ killer, Oedipus is appalled. Tiresias retorts:
“You mock my blindness? Let me tell you this.
You with your precious eyes, your blind to the
 corruption of your life …”
 
Tiresias brings to light here Oedipus’ arrogance, and his prideful ways, which Tiresias
tries to put Oedipus in his place, and he characteristically enough, ignores Tiresias.
Through his arrogance, Oedipus also reveals one of his character flaws—ignorance.
Blind, lost in the light, endless light that you nursed!
[Y]ou can’t hurt me or anyone else who sees the light—
[Y]ou can never touch me!”
 
In the above speech, Oedipus also makes clear his concrete thoughts of being untouchable. Oedipus believes that his intelligence could outsmart the gods, which ultimately, leads to his own destruction.
Oedipus’, persistence to know the truth becomes apparent as he constantly questions all around him, but refuses to see the truth in their answers. When Jocasta realizes the truth, she discourages him from uncovering the truth, which only fuels the determined man even more. Oedipus starts to display signs of paranoia, as a result of this persistence.
 “When my enemy moves against me quickly,
 [P]lots in secret, I move quickly too, I must plot
 [A]nd pay him back. Relax my guard a moment,
 [W]aiting his next move—he wins, his objective,
 I lose mine.”
 
When Oedipus discovers that the truth depends on the testimony of one, he fears what will be discovered:
 “I cannot be the killer, one can’t equal many.
[B]ut if he refers to one man, one alone,
[C]learly the scales come down on me.
I am guilty.”
 
The one messenger, who is responsible for bringing the truth to light to Oedipus, reluctantly tells him the awful truth of his birth—that, which was prophesized by Delphi, is true.

When Oedipus finally sees the truth he blinds himself in a fit of insanity, he is forced to face his total destruction brought on by his own spiritual void. Oedipus, the tragic hero in the play, encounters a pivotal catharsis, in which he holds a position of power, possesses a tragic flaw, hubris, and gains awareness, which in turn, leads to his fall. Oedipus reveals the true character within himself, when he learns the truth of the prophet of Delphi: he reacts rashly, and shows that he does not react understand the consequences of his reactions. In his rashness, Oedipus’ reveals his love for himself and his lack of courage. This act, the act of physically blinding himself and mentally awaking himself shows Oedipus as the tragic hero is revered to be. He is one of a noble position in his community, possesses a tragic flaw, and falls into his rightful humble position.

“This truth is a remedy against spiritual pride,
namely, that none should account himself better
before God than others, though perhaps adorned
with greater gifts, and endowments.”
--Johann Ardnt
 
 
Oedipus, throughout the play does not realize the truth of the gods, and he believes he can out wit them. “…But sick as you are, not one is sick as I…” Oedipus does not see the truth in his own words.


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