Hands have a Metaphysical

Check out more papers on Oedipus Rex

Hands have a metaphysical, real quality, as well as an empowering means of keeping the text moving. In Oedipus Rex, hands are used to portray both a genuine and interpreted sense of knowledge, one you can grasp and hold, as well as one that cannot be seen. Through this interpretation, Sophocles conveys that one cannot know everything about a subject if only knowing one aspect of it. Oedipus’ quote, How can you say that, When the clues to my true birth are in my hands? (244, 1003) demonstrates how Oedipus believed understanding to be a tangible matter he will one day attain, and somehow command.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay on

“Hands have a Metaphysical”

Get custom essay

Jocasta countered Oedipus with, For God’s love, let us have no more questioning! Is your life nothing to you? My own is pain enough for me to bear (224, 1004). Oedipus originally believed that his wife was full of anguish due to his low origin, but she actually had realized his true past, and is afraid for him to do the same. Oedipus interpreted this as a way to bring himself peace, but Jocasta had understood that although it may console him, it will inevitably tear him apart.

The use of hands can be sought out in many different parts of the text, akin to a motif. Oedipus is a mere puppet in the hands of God is an exact representation of the fact that however hard Oedipus tried, he would always end up at the same place in the end. And as he tried to free himself of his secrets in his past and flee from the oracle, he only brought himself closer to his final destination. This quote displays to the audience that Oedipus was unaware that he was being manipulated; he was only a character in a show for the gods’ amusement. Metaphorically, Oedipus had lost his “reach of power” because the oracle will lead him to his fate, no matter what. One’s reach of power can be defined as the rule over somebody thought to be lesser, or impressionable, imposing your power onto their own character.

Jocasta attempted to change Oedipus’ mind when he was trying to uncover his past, yet his fatal flaw of arrogance made him pay no attention to her plea. Listen to me, I beg you: do not do this thing (244, 1009)! and Everything I say is for your own good (244, 1011)! showed her being led to her breaking point, and eventually she stormed off the stage. The hand gestures Jocasta would use in the staging of this play would be wild, which reflects her understanding of what’s best for Oedipus. He retorted with, Let us leave this woman to brag of her royal name (244, 1015). Oedipus could obviously see her anger, through her violent movements, but he was unable to understand Jocasta’s point of view figuratively.

Oedipus and Choragos had the ability to reflect on their decision, and Choragos said, I fear this silence: Something dreadful may come of it. Choragos is one of the wisest characters in the story of Oedipus Rex, and he guesses without a doubt what Jocasta chooses to do.

Dramatic irony pops up all over the text, specifically in the final stanza, where Choragos said, I am a child of Luck. Luck is my mother, the passing months, my brothers, have seen me rich and poor (Page 245, 1025). This displays irony because the audience knows Oedipus was talking to his true mother, but he still couldn’t realize that she was not angry about his heritage.
Ultimately, Oedipus leaves Choragos and the audience with the questions, How could I wish that I were someone else? How could I not be glad to know my own birth? (245, 1028). Jocasta tried to turn Oedipus away from his past, since she had the knowledge he didn’t.

He is unable to realize how, in finding the truth, he will uncover how he led himself to where he is.
Without the symbolization of hands in the text, the effect would not be as strong, or correlate to the reader as resolutely. Although some readers will not pick up on the use of each and every word, the reader can get a whole different meaning from this passage. Sophocles chose to add the use of hands in this excerpt because it displays how, even though Oedipus believes he knows everything, he doesn’t. There’s an obvious contrast between his real and metaphorical knowledge. The audience knows this, and as a result, knows he is displaying his fatal flaw of hubris throughout the passage.

Jocasta was slain by her own hand. Oedipus is left with the blood of his family on his hands, as well as his own actual blood. Hands, not only in this short passage but in the whole of Oedipus Rex, are a recurring symbol of power and wisdom. Oedipus only reaches that conclusion in the final pages of the text. Because Oedipus Rex is a play, the importance of movements is heightened because actions can be used to amplify meaning. When a viewer sees a character throw up their hands, or storm off the stage, it is given more meaning than if just told of emotions in the text.

Did you like this example?

Cite this page

Hands Have A Metaphysical. (2020, Mar 06). Retrieved September 29, 2022 , from

Save time with Studydriver!

Get in touch with our top writers for a non-plagiarized essays written to satisfy your needs

Get custom essay

Stuck on ideas? Struggling with a concept?

A professional writer will make a clear, mistake-free paper for you!

Get help with your assigment
Leave your email and we will send a sample to you.
Stop wasting your time searching for samples!
You can find a skilled professional who can write any paper for you.
Get unique paper

I'm Chatbot Amy :)

I can help you save hours on your homework. Let's start by finding a writer.

Find Writer