Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blindness in The Divine Comedy compared to Oedipus the King

We first see the image of blindness in Oedipus the King as the blind prophet Tiresias can see the truth while Oedipus who literally still has his vision cannot see the truth.  His stubbornness to solve who murdered King Laius leads to his downfall as he discovers his prophecy.  Tiresias tried to warn Oedipus, but he was too stubborn.  Today in class, we talked about how St. Lucia was the Patron Saint of the Blind.  This makes perfect sense as to why she was chosen as one of the three women that look after Dante.  Dante is in a sense blinded from the correct path to heaven.  St. Lucia, attempts to help him.  St. Lucia in The Divine Comedy plays the same role as Tiresias in Oedipus the King.  They are both trying to help both Dante and Oedipus respectively find the truth.  Oedipus fails to take Tiresias's advice.  Will it turn out different for Dante?

1 comment:

Michell D said...

I would like to add that when we see Dante cover his eyes from medusa, Virgil takes it upon himself to cover Dante's eyes with his own hands too. Dante even points this out to the reader and tells them to further look into the allegory. This was explained complicatedly (I think I have made up or misused too many words, especially for a humanities blog) in the head notes. Dante is comparing the actual petrification of the body to the hardening of the heart which relates to despair. Although I don't know that these references to vision are all interconnected like you said, they are often recycled through literature. It is a very powerful symbol which, as we have seen, can be used to represent many different things.