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Optical Illusion on Oedipus Rex and Othello


The theme of look and truth is such a dominant one in Oedipus Rex and Othello, and the fascination with appearance plays such an important part in bringing them closer to Oedipus’ and Othello’s tragedy, that the plays can be described a disasters of appearance in human life, in which the opposite of look is fact or reality. But this style of unpredictable vision exists through different thematic expression in bith tragedies.

Sophocles takes an internal component of character into factor to consider whereas Shakespeare hold a mixture of internal and external components responseble fior the optical illusions of Othello and other characters in the play.

At first it is on behalf of appearance that we see a battle waged in Oedipus red. As this battle progresses we see look losing more and more ground. The first phase in it is the organization of the divinely-instructed query into the death of Laius, which suggests that the look of it that it was the work of outland robbers-is not relied on.

Rather early in the enquiry, Oedipus is led astray by an appearance-that the burglars who were alleged to have actually assaulted Laius needs to have been connected with Thebes, and the suspicion that Creon must have at their back. ‘the question points to Creon. Creon gives the appearance of averting it. The suspicion, he says, that unavoidably occurred could not be pursued after the deed. Why not? The sphinx came … for some time after this, to be sure, the suspicion appears to lie inactive. However the focus of attention is no longer on the scene of the criminal activity, or the method it happened, but rather on those who were eventually responsible, and Thebes.

Then all of a sudden, after the quarrel with the hostile and obviously malicious prophet, the suspicion is confirmed, the connection between Creon and Teiresias is established, and the existence of an entire web of enmity stands proven as reality.’ Oedipus presumes that the robbers were paid off to play their part, and eventually he believes that both Creon and Teiresias lagged them. Therefore the expected presence of a plot to murder Laius is another look which leads Oedipus astray. So Oedipus is to end up being worried with looks which it becomes his life’s mission to examine, so that he might get at the underlying fact or reality.

Appearance and truth enter image also in the conversation of malfunctioning vision of Oedipus. Another symptom of Oedipus’ fixation with look is his intellectual myopia. He has a minimal vision and is unable to evaluate the scenarios in an ideal viewpoint. Robert L. Kane (1975) puts this preposition in this way; “He [Oedipus] was the victim of an optical illusion”. (p. 196) The juxtaposition between “outside splendor and inward blindness of Oedipus and the outward blindness and inward sight of the prophet” (Kirkwood, p. 30) depicts two kinds of loss of sight i. e. physical and intellectual. One belongs to physical sight whereas the other, the most pernicious type of loss of sight, refers to insight. Teiresias is physically blind but whereas Oedipus is blind intellectually. This intellectual loss of sight of Oedipus likewise contributes greatly to his believe in look instead of fact and eventually leads him to his tragic location. Oedipus has supreme physical vision throughout play other than in the end however he stays blind to the reality concerning himself.

At one point in the play, he has the ability to see however he is not ready to do so. Additionally it is his faulty intellectual insight make him believe in the apearence of some unidentified enemy and he pronounces on him the sentence of outlawry and likewise uttes a curse on him. The truth of it that it is on himself that he is passing both the sentences, is umknown to him. Nevertheless, we may see that the steady and increasing loss of Oedipus’ detachment and the growing referrals to himself raise the suspicion that unconciously Oedipus understand what reality lies concealed behind the look.

Unlike Oedipus Rex, in Othello it is the machination of Iago that blurs the visiioon of Othello and denies “worthy Moor” to compare reality and apprearence. Othello, together with numerous other characters mostly depend upon their visual faculties that is distorted and distorted by the skillfull hoax of Iago. These character along with Othello base their conclusion about truths what apears to them and do not delve deep into the reality of the important things. However unlike Oedipus their optical allusion is not result of something inherent in their charcter.

Othello is smart enough that he knows that looks can be decieving however Iago trciker blinds him. For instance, Othello notices that Cassio walks off promptly after having a discussion with Desdemona. Although Othello does not see incongruity in their meeting but Iago provides this conference in a different way and sneakily. Iago whisperings to Othello, “… I can not believe it, that he would take away so guilty like.” (lll, iii,42) Here the machination makes the vision of Othello illusory and he concludes erreaneously as he states, “… I do think’t was he. (lll, iii,44) However as a matter of fact, Cassio and Desdemona reverse about getting Cassio’s job back as Desdemona states to Cassio: I know’t. I thank you. You do enjoy my lord;/ You have actually known him long; and be you well assured He shall in strangeness stand no farther off Than in politic distance. (lll, iii,11) But Othello believes what he observed and percieved through the lenses of suspicion that iago sowed in his mind. This lead to a dilemma that ends up being unfixanle later and eventually causes the disaster of Othello.

This is interesting to note that all characters in the play, except for Roderigo (to whom Iago often reveals his real face) have a high viewpoint of Iago and refer to him as “truthful Iago”. The Shared relationship in between Iago and Othello is of trust and reliance on the part of Othello however it is conniving and devious on the part of Iago. Iago has same relationship with Cassio. Cassio is also deceived by the seeming virtue of Iago and really believes that ensign is a kind-hearted guy. But at the same time is a rival to Iago in the royal court.

Unlike pride in Oedipus over his abilities, it is component of trust that denies Othello of his vision and makes him believe in appeareance as supreme reality. Although when Iago starts working on Othello, he presumes him and asks for proof, yet from the start of the play, he appears to have actually put entire self-confidence in the honesty of Iago, who had not been his buddies in arms. This self-confidence is lost but it is no sign of stupidity in Othello. He does not have a distinctive fear of him. We find this even prior to Iago has set a trap for him.

Othello fears the monster “too hideous to be revealed” that he determines about Iago’s thoughts. This manifests a weird relationship based on paradoxical sensations. It is of confidence, trust and fear. However latter events show that Othello’s trust in Iago subdues the instinctive worry. This occurs due to Othello’s non-meditative nature. He does not ponder over concerns and does not weigh their intention and effects. A. C. Bradley appropriately states in this regard; The sources of threat in this character are exposed however too clearly by the story. In the very first location, Othello’s mind, for all its poetry, is really basic.

He is not watchful. His nature tends external. He is rather free from introspection, and is not offered to reflection. Emotion excites his imagination, but it confuses and dulls his intellect. (p. 217) Above-mentioned arguments and supporting textual and extra-textual evidence clearly suggest that in Oedipus Rex, it is something habitual and internal in the chracter of Oedipus himself who is unable to compare what appears to be and what really is whereas it is an external element (Iago) as well as an internal component (his thorough trust on Iago) in Othello that leads to the visual fallacy.

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