The Dramatic Irony of Blindness



             Throughout history there have been some astonishing Greek plays. Some plays were more comedic in nature, so were romance plays and then there were some that were tragic plays. One of the greatest Greek tragedy plays ever written was Oedipus the King.

             Brilliantly conceived and written, Oedipus the King dramatizes the self-discovery and tragic downfall of Oedipus, the King of Thebes. It tells the story about a young Greek who was fated to murder his father, marry his mother, and in the process become the King of Thebes, before ultimately meeting his downfall due to his own deeds. That makes this play so fascinating is that there are numerous underlying themes within the story, and I will attempt to shed light on one of these themes, that being the dramatic irony of blindness. I shall do this by focusing on the words and actions of a minor character in the play, Tiresias.

             A minor character is a character that is developed in such a way to help reveal themes and depict certain literary devices. Literary devices are used in mostly all literary works, as they can help reveal pertinent information and also move the story along. In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the minor character of Tiresias is responsible for foreshadowing Oedipus' fate, developing the theme of blindness, and also illustrating dramatic irony. Tiresias uses his fortune teller abilities to foreshadow the anguish and destruction that Oedipus will encounter after he learns the truths of his life. Tiresias is also responsible for further developing the theme of blindness by using his own physical blindness to reveal to Oedipus his intellectual blindness. Lastly, Tiresias is ultimately responsible for imposing dramatic irony because of his great knowledge of the truth of Oedipus. In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, the character of Tiresias is developed in such a way that he utilizes many dramatic devices in order to reveal information and move the play along.

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