Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

How are they related to the theme? For what reason does Oedipus blind himself? Why does he blind himself instead of joining Jocasta in suicide?

Trace the images of vision and blindness throughout the play.

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Light and darkness

Darkness and light are tightly wound up with the theme of sight and blindness in Sophocles' play. Oedipus - and all the other characters, save for Teiresias - is 'in the dark' about his own origins and the murder of Laius. Teiresias, of course, is literally 'in the dark' with his own blindness - and yet manages to have sight over everything that is to follow. After Oedipus finds out what has happened, he bemoans the way everything has indeed "come to light".

Sight and blindness

Teiresias holds the key to the link between sight and blindness - for even though he is blind, he can still see and predict the future (if not the present). At the end of the play, moreover, Oedipus blinds himself, because what he has metaphorically seen (i.e. realized) leaves him unable to face his family or his parents in the afterlife). As with the previous theme, sight/blindness operate both literally and metaphorically within the play. Indeed, literal sight is juxtaposed with 'insight' or 'foresight'.