Oedipus Rex depicts a tale of a king, destined to fulfill a lifelong prophecy, ultimately shaming his reputation. He is blind to the truth, perceiving his "reality" through a distorted lens. But is it perspective that defines truth in this tale, or does the truth prove unwavering and certain?
Here's the facts: After receiving a prophecy that their child will marry his mother and kill his father, Oedipus' parents bind the infant's feet and send him off to die. However, through coincidental events, Oedipus unknowingly kills his father in a conflict among travelers and finds his way back to Thebes, then marrying his mother. The prophecy is fulfilled and the truth is exposed: he lives an incestuous and disgraceful life.
However, perception is a key element in this play. Before his immorality is exposed, Oedipus views himself as a strong ruler, priding himself on his leadership and dignity. Yet, he is blind to the truth. He perceives himself as all-knowing, viewing the world through his "outward eyes," however, Oedipus is utterly oblivious to the truth of the prophet, Tiresias', words as well as his own identity. Nothing is what it seems in this story. What one sees is merely how one perceives. Blindness of knowledge can be possible even when literal sight is present and the truth is hidden. After realizing this reality, Oedipus loses his vision of what he believes the world was. His perspective is altered and with it, his truth. Oedipus' sense of identity is defined by perspective. Due to his pride and nobility, his perception of himself is the utmost deciding variable of what he believes to be true. His ultimate downfall is not only due to his own disgrace in himself but also how his kingdom now perceives him. It's their judgement that ultimately cements his fate and confirms his humiliation. Perception has the ability to condemn individuals, shape realities, and distort views all with a renewed consciousness of the world.