Many times humans do things that contradict another thing they do. An example of this is one thing may be good but also bad at the same time. A person who has done this more then once is Oedipus in the writer Sophocles plays. Sophocles uses imagery like light verses darkness, knowledge verses ignorance and sight verses blindness.
Oedipus is very knowledgeable during the play and at some times still extremely ignorant. He doesnt always put pieces together. When they are right in front of him. Many people in the play call him ignorant when he still believes that he is knowledgeable. Tiresias says All ignorant! And I refuse to link my utterance with a downfall such as yours (19). In this quote Tiresias means that Oedipus is ignorant even though he acts like he knows everything. Oedipus does not know what Tiresias knows and that is that the curse, which stated the Oedipus would marry his mother, has come true. Tiresias can see what will happen when Oedipus finds out that Jocasta is really his mother and wants to prevent that from happening. When Tiresias does not tell Oedipus the information he seeks he gets angry. Tiresias also has another quote that goes along with knowledge verses ignorance. Tiresias states Im blind, you say; you mock at that! I say you see and still are blind-appallingly: Blind to your origins and to a union in your house. Yes, ask yourself where are you from. Youd never guess what hate is dormant in your home or buried with your dear ones dead, or how a mothers and a fathers curse will one day scourge you with its double thongs and whip you staggering from the land. It shall be night where you now boast the day. (23). This quote says a lot. First Tiresias accuses Oedipus for mocking him yet still not knowing the information that he knows. Which is the curse. He accuses Oedipus for being blind also and not knowing the truth of his origins, which are from a different mother, and then he grew up with. He doesnt see he has married his mother. In one part of the quote it states Yes, ask your self where are you from. Tiresias is hinting at the fact even though Oedipus thinks hes extremely knowledgeable hes ignorant because he doesnt know where he is from. When Tiresias is talking about dear ones dead he means his true father. Both of these quotes show knowledge verses ignorance.
Along with knowledge verses ignorance the play deals with Sight verses blindness. Oedipus says, Friends, it was Apollo, spirit of Apollo, He made this evil fructify. Oh yes, I pierced my eyes, my useless eyes, why not? When all thats sweet had parted from my vision (73). In this quote Oedipus is saying how blind he was and how he could not see at first he married his mother and killed his father. He believes that he has no need for eyes if they will not let him stop being so blind. Oedipus does not mean he was blind from sight but blind that he could not realize what was going on. When he says All thats sweet had parted from my vision he means that after he found out his life turned bad and to him his eyes are useless if they wont work the way he feels like they should work. The chorus says But how can we say that your design was good? To live in blindness? Better live no longer (74). The chorus means that Oedipus should not die because of this. He found out that he killed is father and married his mother but blindness is better then death. Oedipus does not agree with this. He feels that he should die for his actions. A 3rd quote that is stated by Oedipus along with sight verses blindness is What kind of eyes should I need to gaze upon my fathers face in Hades or my unhappy mothers: Those twin victims ruined by me from whom I should be hanged? Or eyes that could stare into my childrens faces? (74). This quote talks about why he poked his eyes out. It says that Oedipus poked out his eyes because he doesnt want to see his fathers face or his mothers face because he caused both of their deaths and feels that he should be killed for it. He also doesnt want to see his childrens faces because of how they will feel. Oedipus shows sight verses blindness very well in these quotes.
Light verses darkness occurs in the play also. Oedipus says I a, deserted, dark, and where is sorrow stumbling? Whence flits that voice so near? Where, demon, will you drive me (72). Oedipus in this quote is alone. Others are around him but it is dark because he cannot see light and people are not helping him. All the chorus members stand in amazement and shock. He acts as though a demon has done this. Also he tries to hear where the voices are coming from. One last quote is said by Oedipus Lost! Ah lost its blazing clear. Light of my days, go dark. I want to gaze no more. My birth all sprung revealed from those it never should, my self-entwined with those I never could. And I the killer of those I never would (67). This quote talks about how he wishes everything was dark so he would not have to see all of this go on. But it is all clear and light so he finally understands all of this and realizes it.
Sophocles uses imagery like light verses darkness, knowledge verses ignorance and sight verses blindness all through out the play. Here were just a few examples of the many that were in the play. All of these quotes show how Sophocles uses imagery in different parts of the play.
~MRE~ Hammond High 2005