Monday, October 17, 2005

Oedipus Rex VS King Lear

After finished reading Shakespeare’s King Lear, I have found that there is a similar theme with Sophocles’s Oedipus the King which is sight and blindness. In King Lear, King Lear himself and Gloucester are blind to see the truth. Such factors obstruct their vision, not allowing them to see clearly. In the first scene Lear announces that he will retire from the throne and divide his kingdom among his three daughters. He uses the love test which who loves him most will get the property. Anyway, Lear is blind to see that Goneril and Regan are flattering him for their own advantages! And Lear is lack of sight to see Cordelia’s kindness. Lear's eyesight blinds him of the truth. Driven by his own blindness or lack of sight, Lear begins to make many mistakes. He not only loses his daughter,but also the most loyal friend he had, The Duke of Kent. Lear also cannot acknowledge the fact that both Cordelia and he are being stubborn and selfish to not allow love except on their own terms. Gloucester like Lear is metaphorically blinded by his son's betrayal and is not able to see the goodness of Edgar and the evil of Edmund. Gloucester again like Lear is blind to see the kindness of his son, Edgar. He wanted to kill Edgar that would later save his life.
On the other hand, in Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus was blind in more then one way. He was blind to the truth about his own life. Oedipus had no idea that his real parents were Laius and Jocasta. He was so blind that he got mad at anyone who was foolish enough to suggest such an idea. As more and more of the story started to fall into place, Oedipus was forced to open his eyes to the truth. Oedipus did kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus was the person causing the bad times in Thebes. As soon as Oedipus knew and accepted the truth, he blinded himself. Jocasta's blindness was different then Oedipus'. She knew about the prophecy, but she thought Oedipus was dead. She had no idea that she had married her son. As pieces of information came to point to the whole truth of the matter, Jocasta refused to accept what had really happened. She realized what had happened, and she knew that she had played a role in them. Her way of dealing with the whole deal was to kill herself. Jocasta's blindness ultimately led to her downfall. Teiresias' blindness was of the physical nature. Teiresias played the role of the typical prophet in the Greek tragedy. He was physically blind, but he had vision into the future. When he presented the truth to Oedipus, Oedipus attacked his blindness. He told Teiresias that the only reason he was not blaming him for the whole situation was that Teiresias could not see. Oedipus used his blindness to prophesize that Oedipus would leave Thebes blind, poor, and shamed. This statement irritated Oedipus even more. Oedipus began to turn away from the idea of a prophet and seeing into the future. Teiresias' physical blindness led to Oedipus' physical blindness.
As the conclusion, both plays Oedipus the King and King Lear are play with the theme of blindness versus sight ness.


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