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October 06, 2006

Julia's quote commentary on Oedipus Rex

Julia Broadway
Section 003, Complit 240

"Now you won't see me, you won't see
my agonies or my crimes
but in endless darkness, always, there you'll see
those I never should have seen.
And those I should have known were my parents, father and mother-
these eyes will never see their faces in the light.
These eyes will never see the light again, never."

These words erupt from Oedipus's mouth as he blinds himself with the dead Jocasta's brooches, and are directed to his eyes. However, they require closer examination to understand their full meaning, and even then his words can be puzzling. Before the revelation of his parentage, for instance, Oedipus had two working eyes and he couldn't see "[his] agonies or [his] crimes". Why, therefore, was it necessary to destroy his eyes?

The last line of his outburst, however, is less confusing, and explains his motives better: "These eyes will never see the light again, never". Before Oedipus knew who his parents were, he was metaphorically in the dark- out of the light. The unveiling of the play's central mystery sheds the veil of darkness from Oedipus's eyes, and what he sees in the light is more than he can stand. The desire to remain in complete darkness after such a revelation is therefore understandable.

Posted by jcbroadw at October 6, 2006 03:10 PM


Notice also the symmetry between "you won't see me..." and "these eyes will never see..."

Posted by: bhattach at October 7, 2006 10:55 PM

I liked the connections you made about how Oedipus has eyes but couldnt see, and you do explain why he decides to blind himself. However your transition into telling us this is unclear. First you ask the question, why destroy his eyes, and in the next paragraph the transition sentence made it hard for me to connect the two thoughts. I also wish you would have touched on the third line and its meanings. Overall though, I thought you had a very insightful commentary.

Posted by: ilanab at October 8, 2006 02:42 PM

When I read this, the first thing that jumped up at me is the lingering of the letter "S." When this passage is read out loud, that is the most obvious becuase of the words "See," agonieS," "crimeS," endleSS," "darkneSS." I found this to be, not so much as conceptual, an in depth look, as much as it is interesting to actually listen to the words themselves and feel his pain through the repetition of this one letter.

Posted by: gbaciu at October 10, 2006 01:22 PM

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