preview

Tiresias In Oedipus Essay

Powerful Essays
Although Tiresias, in Sophocles ' Oedipus the King, appears only in one scene, he plays a key role in revealing unknown qualities of Oedipus and guiding the play to its tragic ending. Tiresias primarily functions as the catalyst ultimately responsible for the provocation of Oedipus ' venomous jealousy, a vital factor in the play 's progression. The calm and confident Tiresias also acts as a foil for Oedipus. This drastic difference between these two characters allows the reader to see aspects of Oedipus not revealed before. Lastly, Tiresias functions as an authoritative father figure to King Oedipus and builds the foreshadowing motif of Oedipus’ relationship with fathers. Tiresias acts in a way that makes him seem fatherly: This motif of…show more content…
However Tiresias and Oedipus ultimately become the same: they are both blind while also seeing the truth. Once Tiresias brings to light the fact that Oedipus killed his father, Oedipus investigates further and realizes that Jocasta is his mother. Jocasta kills herself and in horror Oedipus blinds himself. He says, “I do not know with what eyes I could look / upon my father when I die and go / under the earth, nor yet my wretched mother” (1371-1373). Now that the truth has been revealed, there is no reason to see. To Oedipus, nothing is worth seeing in the world of the living, but also he doesn’t want to see anyone in the world of the dead. Sophocles creates dramatic irony around sight. Oedipus can physically see, but is unaware of the truth. In his conversation with Tiresias, he often makes fun of him for being blind: “...you are blind in mind and ears / as well as in your eyes” (371-2). But at the end, he blinds himself, thinking that it’s the best option. Tiresias, being blind, is able to see that Oedipus is unaware of his wrong doings and therefore blind in a different way: “You blame my temper but you do not see / your own that lives within you” (336-7). What makes Tiresias a prophet is that, since he is blind, he is not exposed to the real world, but since he is not dead he is not quite exposed to the dead world. He is
Get Access