Saturday, September 15, 2012
You Can't Handle the Truth!
One of the dominant issues in Oedipus Rex is the juxtaposition between truth and blindness. Contrary to most opinion, I believe that Oedipus' blindness to the truth is actually voluntary, and continues to be until the very end. Take for example the altercation between him and Tiresias: While most associate this scene with irony, Oedipus being unable to see the truth while the blind prophet can, I might argue that Oedipus' figurative blindness was not blindness at all, but rather a mixture of stubborn pride and growing fear. Perhaps it's not just a case of simply being ignorant, but also a matter of not wanting to believe. I could easily see someone become defensive if someone accused them of something they believed they did not do, but I could also see this with someone who is simply too horrified by the thought of their fault to want to believe the truth. Hence, they block out that possibility because they do not wish to consider it. However, this does not attribute to an actual ignorance or blindness, for they are in fact aware of the possibility they attempt to quell and dismiss. While this is a bit of an assumptive example to my argument, there is another scene, which could easily legitimize it. That is when he physically blinds himself after having seen the truth and his wife dead. Why does he blind himself? Because he's been traumatized by his fate coming true and the subsequent consequences and repercussions rendered upon him and his family. It is understandable that he'd want to blind himself after seeing so much, as to not risk the possibility that yet even more might be revealed. To put it simply, he is attempting to block away that truth, just as he may have been doing, albeit to a lower degree, with Tiresias' accusation.