Oedipus Rex and Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: The Illusion of Reality Essay
Sophocles was known for his accent on the individual’s sturdy hunt for truth. peculiarly in “Oedipus Rex. ” In Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave. ” he. likewise to Sophocles. illustrates man’s chase of truth and what that means. Plato suggests that truth is subjective to each adult male. But what is truer? What is semblance and what is world? Just because something is semblance for one adult male does non do it falsity for the other. “To them. I said. the truth would be literally nil but the shadows of the images” ( Plato ) . The narrative of Oedipus offers a batch of illustrations of the doctrine that Plato poses in his duologue.
In both plants. the work forces foremost had to recognize their ignorance before they could get down to get cognition and true apprehension of the complexnesss of the human status ; Oedipus in a actual sense and the adult male in the cave in a more theoretical sense. Oedipus discovers. after piercing out his eyes. that he has eventually arrived at the truth of his life and that he now has a duty to portion his narrative with his kids. extended household. and citizens. And in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave. ” the prisoner’s trouble detecting the truth lies in his unfortunate restricted life within the cave.
And when he escapes. he feels compelled to edify others with the freshly found truth he has stumbled upon. “And when he remembered his old habitation. and the wisdom of the cave and his fellow captives. make you non say that he would congratulate himself on the charge and commiseration them? ” ( Plato ) “Oedipus Rex” and Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” are works about truth and falsity. about sight and sightlessness. about light and darkness ; all of which represent the great divide between semblance and world. Oedipus is blinded by the semblance that he has fled his destiny. holding overcome the prognostication.
He thinks he has escaped his parents. and this semblance is his world. Throughout the drama. Oedipus utters curse upon expletive onto himself without cognizing because he refuses to see world of the rough truth before him. The contrast between what is truth and what is falsity is a outstanding subject throughout both classical plant. Oedipus is on the hunt for truth. no affair what the cost. He finds truth to be a worthy cause. no affair what harsh worlds it may demo them. The accent on truth is seen with more lucidity in the duologue between Oedipus and Teiresias.
Oedipus furies at Teiresias for talking out against him by ordering Oedipus’ destiny. Oedipus cries. “Can you perchance think you have some manner of traveling free. after such crust? ” Then Teiresias answers. “I have gone free. It is the truth that sustains me. ” Oedipus retaliates. “It seems you can travel on talking like this forever. ” Teiresias so concludes by stating. “I can if there is power in truth” ( Sophocles 889-890 ) Teiresias. a unsighted adult male. takes solace in the truth. despite the abrasiveness of the world. Oedipus. though ab initio enraged at this proposition. so starts to understand its importance and power.
This state of affairs is really similar to what is seen in Plato’s work. The captive is bound by the semblance of his false sense of comfort and security. When he is released and emerges from the cave. he is overcome by the power of the visible radiation of the Sun. “The blaze will straiten him. and he will be unable to see the worlds of which in his former province he had seen the shadows… Will he non visualize that the shadows which he once saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him? ” ( Plato ) Plato’s proposition of man’s reaction to new and better truths. despite the abrasiveness. about absolutely parallels Oedipus’ reaction.
And even the sarcasm of when the captives mock their fellow inmate for being “delusional” in his deficiency of belief in the worlds of the shadows parallel the relationship between Oedipus and Teiresias. Oedipus. after being told the world by Teiresias says. “You kid of eternal dark! You can non ache me or any other adult male who sees the sun” ( 890 lines 156-157 ) Oedipus is blinded by his semblances and perceptual experience of what is world. There is blazing sarcasm in the contrast of sight and sightlessness in Sophocles’ drama. Oedipus. while being able to physically see. is so blinded to world.
Teiresias. who is physically unsighted. sees the world and accepts it and efforts to distribute that world to Oedipus who is stubborn to see. Teiresias rebukes Oedipus in his jeer stating. “You name me unfeeling. if merely you could see the nature of your ain feelings… Listen to me. You mock my sightlessness. make you? But I say that you. with both your eyes. are unsighted. You can non see the misery of your life” ( Sophocles 890-891 ) . This sight of the world. the truth. is represented in Plato’s piece by the emerging out of the cave into the universe.
Obtaining sight happens. as Plato puts it. with the “mind’s eye” and the “bodily oculus. ” But this transition from being blind to being able to see does non go on to everyone and non really easy. Plato argues that the capacity of sight is in the psyche already. the eyes of the head merely necessitate to turn from darkness to visible radiation in order to see the universe. “… the instrument of cognition can merely by the motion of the whole psyche be turned from the universe of going into that of being. and of learn by grades to digest the sight of being. and of the brightest and best of being. or in other words. of the good” ( Plato ) .
The passage from sightlessness to spy. darkness into light. is non a quick or easy procedure. It is rough and requires finding and a strong. rational head. After Oedipus is brought into the visible radiation of world. he longs for the clip he was non burdened with the abrasiveness and wretchedness world brings: he wants to return to darkness. returning to the security of his semblance. “If I could hold stifled my hearing at its beginning. I would hold done it and made all this organic structure a tight cell of wretchedness. space to visible radiation and sound: so I should hold been safe in a dark torment beyond all recollection” ( lines 159-163 ) .
The darkness of the cave and the power of the light outside of it is the most graphic image painted by Plato in his fable. He so continues. taking the fable to the following degree: “the prison-house [ cave ] is the universe of sight. the visible radiation of the fire of the Sun. and you will non misconstrue me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the acclivity of the psyche into the rational universe harmonizing to my hapless belief…” ( Plato ) Plato is stating that the material universe we live in is non the fullest world.
We live in a universe that is but shadows of the Fuller world we can non see. In the context of Plato’s universe. Oedipus. so. at the terminal of the drama is still stuck in the following degree of semblance. That is why he is so down. He has lost all of his “sensual pleasures” that Plato warns humanity about. and Oedipus is therefore left feeling hopeless and lost – in darkness. The complexness of these two plants is tremendous and airss inquiries which seem about unanswerable. Yet they complement each other really good. as you would anticipate given their common classical background.
They both address the same features of life and human nature: truth and falsity. sight and sightlessness. and light and darkness. all tied together by a subject of the apparently comparative divide of semblance and world. Both works put an accent on the importance of truth and it’s ever worth it. no affair what the cost. There are different types of sight: bodily and mental. It seems that in order to hold stronger mental sight. it is better to be bodily blind as seen with Oedipus and Teiresias.
Escaping from the darkness into the visible radiation is get awaying the semblances that the universe and you yourself have created. The person. harmonizing to Plato. “must hold his oculus fixed. ” so that he may. in the universe of cognition. see the thought of good. which is seen merely with attempt and with a wisdom which “more than anything else contains a Godhead component which ever remains…” Sophocles and Plato both see there is something losing in the world of our universe.
There has to be more to this world. we. hence. must be populating illusive lives and we need to emerge from the cave. If we do non. we are confined to a life lacking of intending. true cognition. and purpose. Thus the image we have of Oedipus at the terminal of the drama: stuck in a life which is full of falsity. sightlessness. darkness. and is… an semblance? Alas for the seed of work forces. What step shall I give these coevalss that breathe on the nothingness and are null and exist and do non be?
Who bears more weight of joy than mass of sunlight switching in images. or who shall do his idea stay on that down clip float off? Your luster is all fallen… O Oedipus. most royal one! The great door that expelled you to the light gave at dark – ah. gave dark to your glorification: as to the male parent. to the begeting boy. All understood excessively late… For I weep the world’s castaway. I was blind. and now I can state why: asleep. for you had given easiness of breath to Thebes. while the false old ages went by. ( 911-13 lines 1-9 ; 32-36 ; 49-53 )