Allegory of the Cave

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How is what Oedipus is facing similar to ehat the prisoner faces in Plato's "Allegory of the cave"?

Apr 14th, 2015

Oedipus Rex and Plato's Allegory of the Cave are similar in that they both have reoccurring themes of blindness and sight.

In Oedipus, the prophet Teiresias is literally blind, but is figuratively able to see better than Oedipus because he knows about the prophecy behind the king's past. (the prophecy being that Oedipus married his mother and killed his father.) Although Teiresias makes several attempts to convince Oedipus of his true lineage, the pompous king refuses to accept this truth and accuses him of lying. Eventually, Oedipus realizes this and his wife Jocasta is unable to bear the truth that was suddenly revealed. Her inability to cope with such a traumatic event causes her to commit suicide. Once Oedipus realizes what he has done, he blinds himself so he would not be able to see the results of his unholy deeds, and is ashamed to see his children, as well as the hardships and pain he had put his family through. 
On the other hand, Plato's literary work discusses and fully embraces the quote "ignorance is bliss" while introducing the theme of blindness as a prisoner faces a wall in a cave that only portrays shadows from a fire of what is happening in the outside world. Sight comes in as the prisoner is suddenly released and let out into the world. (Darkness represented lies and falsity/ Light symbolized the truth, reality, and enlightenment) The prisoner is disoriented and hurt at first because he was drastically forced out of the darkness of the cave and into the sunlight. He then was able to see actual detailed images of the shadows that he was previously confined to viewing, but when he decided to try and explain this newfound discovery to other prisoners who were chained in the cave, they denied it. Despite his efforts to attempt to share the truths of reality with others who had been deprived of this experience, they doubted him because they refused to believe that all they had seen was a lie. This shows that the truth is sometimes difficult to accept. 
Teiresias, the blind prophet parallels the prisoner's character in that they were both enlightened by the truth, but then were doubted while trying to divulge the truth to others who were proven to be unknowledgeable. This may have resulted because people sometimes choose what they want to believe and have a hard time accepting that all that they had ever known was truly a lie. Another aspect ofOedipus Rex that relates to The Allegory of the Cave was when the truth of Oedipus marrying his mother was uncovered. Both Jocasta and Oedipus are unable to bear this sudden revelation and are startled and caught off guard. (similar to the way the prisoner was when he was thrust out into the light of reality.)

Apr 14th, 2015

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