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Role of Tiresias in Oedipus

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 262
  • Category: Oedipus

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Tiresias in, both plays, is the bearer of bad news. Each of these plays the main character refusing to believe his words for truth. Creon’s pride blinds him to the truth, and the fate that Tiresias was a direct effect of Creon’s actions. Tiresias’ prophecy for Oedipus on the other hand is ignored because of Oedipus’ ignorance to his situation that has already taken place. In Oedipus’ case Tiresias brings him news of prophecies that have already been fulfilled, yet for Creon in Antigone his prophecy is in the works.

Tiresias plays a key role in the reversal of Oedipus’ fate in Oedipus Rex, but his role in Antigone has less of an impact. Tiresias is the first one to reveal a big piece of the puzzle to Oedipus, he speaks first of his parents, and then in a fit of rage reveals that the person to kill Liaos was actually Oedipus. At this point in the play, Oedipus has no stock in what he says, although it does have him start questioning. Without Tiresias, Oedipus would have never been led to the messenger and eventually the shepherd who reveals that the dreaded prophecy has in fact take place. Tiresias’s role in Antigone doesn’t start any search for truth, but rather his prophecy is an ominous warning to Creon. He talks of the doom that Creon has cast upon his house, but he does not precipitate the revelation of it all. He takes a much more passive role in Antigone compared to his very active role in Oedipus Rex.

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