Throughout Oedipus the King, Sophocles employs one continuous metaphor: light vs. darkness, and sight vs. blindness. A reference to this metaphoroccurs early in the play, when Oedipus falsely accuses Tiresias and Creon of conspiracy: Creon, the soul of trust, my loyal friend from the start stealsagainst me… so hungry to overthrow me he sets this wizard on me, this scheming quack, this fortune-teller peddling lies, eyes peeled for his ownprofitseer blind in his craft! Tiresias responds by using the same metaphor: So, you mock my blindness?
Let me tell you this. You with your precious eyes, you’re blind to thecorruption of your life, to the house you live in, those you live withwho are your parents? Do you know? All unknowing you are the scourge of yourown flesh and blood, the dead below the earth and the living here above, and the double lash of your mother and your father’s curse will whip you from thisland one day, their footfall treading you down in terror, darkness shrouding your eyes that now can see the light!
Though at this point the reader cannot be sure which character is right, eventually Tiresias comes out the winner. This is revealed as Oedipus learns histragic fate, saying, O godall come true, all burst to light! O lightnow let me look my last on you! I stand revealed at lastcursed in my birth, cursed inmarriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands! Here again, the metaphor of light, which represents truth and knowledge, is present.
Ironically, this causes the king to gouge out his eyes, which have been blind to the truth for so long. He screams, You, you’ll see no more the pain Isuffered, all the pain I caused! Too long you looked on the ones you never should have seen, blind to the ones you longed to see, to know! Blind from thishour on! Blind in the darknessblind! Oedipus furthers Sophocles’ sight metaphor when he defends his decision to humble himself through blindness: “What good were eyes to me? Nothing I could see could bring me joy. “