Teiresias. Teiresias in Antigone 2019-01-21

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Teiresias in Antigone

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. Lesson Summary This lesson has discussed Tiresias, the blind prophet and oracle who possessed foresight in Sophocles' play Oedipus Rex. King Oedipus decides to save his city by seeking out Laius's killer. It is in this role, as a prophet and an oracle who possesses the gift of foresight, that Tiresias appears in Oedipus Rex. Tiresias comes to Oedipus against his will, not wanting to explain the meaning of the oracle to the king, but he goes freely to Creon in Antigone, with news of his own augury. The gods of the heavens and the earth are angered by the fact that he has kept a dead man from being rightfully buried and has entombed a living girl.

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Teiresias in Antigone

teiresias

Creon enters, soon followed by Oedipus. Later on, Oedipus saved Thebes and married King Laius's widow, Jocasta. Oedipus even goes so far as to accuse Teiresias of treason. He'll give oracles to the Boeotians, oracles to , oracles to the mighty descendants of Labdacus. In any comedy in general, no one we like will end up dead. Driven into a fury by the accusation, Oedipus proceeds to concoct a story that Creon and Tiresias are conspiring to overthrow him. Only when Oedipus accuses him of treachery does Tiresias suggest that Oedipus himself is guilty of the murder of King Laius.

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Tiresias in Oedipus Rex

teiresias

Creon admits that he too is worried and will do whatever the citizens recommend. In the case of Greek tragic theatre, audience expectation was just about the diametric opposite. Zeus, in thanks for his support, gave him the gifts of prophecy and longevity. Tiresias is blind but can see the truth; Oedipus has his sight but cannot. Odysseus; Tiresias Odysseus, seated between Eurylochus left and Perimedes, consulting the shade of Tiresias. Creon reacts with defensiveness and dismissive insults, but after Teiresias departs the scene, Creon experiences an epiphany, coming to the realization that his prideful actions were wrong and fully recognizing the horrible consequences he and his loved ones will suffer for them. When Athena blinded Tiresias, she also gave him foresight, the ability to see into the future.

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In The Odyssey

teiresias

With tiny inklings of truth and what is to come, King Oedipus strives to find the real truth, finding out only too late what Tiresias was trying to tell him from the beginning. Before Creon can reply to news of this dark prophecy, Teiresias exits the stage. He is often portrayed as the oracle of Apollo, a man who could see the future and the will of the gods. His words do have the desired effect, however. Oedipus dares Tiresias to say it again, and so Tiresias calls Oedipus the murderer. Teiresias shows up late in Antigone once again to tell it like it is -- and like it will be.

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Teiresias

teiresias

He appears late in Sophocles' tragic play Antigone to warn Creon of the fate in store for his rash decisions: refusing to provide funeral rites to his nephew and sealing up Antigone herself in a cave. He leaves Oedipus with a riddle that implies, plainly enough for the audience to understand, that Oedipus has killed his father and married his mother. Oedipus sizes up a situation, makes a judgment, and acts—all in an instant. Oedipus accuses Creon of trying to overthrow him, since it was he who recommended that Tiresias come. People do not always understand his prophesies until it is too late.

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Teiresias

teiresias

But in Oedipus the King, Tiresias also serves an additional role—his blindness augments the dramatic irony that governs the play. Creon's obstinately rational mind can't accept Teiresias's irrational argument. Along with the urging of the Chorus, Creon quickly runs off to try and avert oncoming tragedy. Whereas Antigone breaks a law made by a particular ruler in a particular instance, a law that he could have made differently, Creon violates an unwritten law, a cultural custom. He'll know all the birds in the sky, those of good omen and those whose flight presages doom.

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Teiresias in Antigone

teiresias

Son of Everes and Chariclo, he lived through seven generations, from the days of and all the way to the time of and his children. The set of incidents most relevant to Antigone include Teiresias being struck blind by Athena for seeing too much in an earthly way her bathing , but later being compensated by being granted the ability to interpret fate through the songs of birds and other natural signs. Tiresias was a blind prophet. At the end of the seventh year, he came across the same two snakes mating yet again. When Teiresias shambles on stage in Antigone, he once again gets accused of being a traitor.

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Tiresias

teiresias

Teiresias returns Creon's trash talk skillfully, but he continues to hammer home the point that Creon's actions -- refusing to give his nephew proper burial rites and entombing Antigone alive in a cave -- violate tradition, decency, and even the order of nature itself, and will have fatal consequences. When asked by and who enjoyed sex more, he answered that women did. King Oedipus has in front of him a man with the knowledge needed to save Thebes, but Teiresias won't reveal the necessary information. As he begins his interrogation of others to understand what happened to King Laius, he slowly uncovers the truth. Creon and Teiresias have a particular history together, and it's clear during their brief but intense exchange that Creon has been able to rely on Teiresias' prophetic knowledge in the past.

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Tiresias

teiresias

And Haemon, Antigone, and Eurydice can learn nothing more, now that they are dead. He became blind when he accidentally saw the goddess Athena bathing, and she took his sight away for this. As Oedipus grows angrier, he taunts Tiresias for his blindness, confusing physical sight and insight, or knowledge. The Blind Leading The Blind Teiresias is kind of a cranky old fellow. The oracle tells King Oedipus that the plague will only go away if King Oedipus finds the killer of the previous king, King Laius, and brings the killer to justice. Tiresias matches Oedipus insult for insult, mocking Oedipus for his eyesight and for the brilliance that once allowed him to solve the riddle of the Sphinx—neither quality is now helping Oedipus to see the truth.

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Teiresias

teiresias

Creon's reaction is entirely defensive and self-justifying, and he responds with insult and accusations, charging Teiresias of being in it for the money and compromising his principles. He's in tune with the mind of Apollo and receives visions of the future. The old prophet argues that the rites for the dead are the concern of the gods—mortals can rule only in this world. Creon accuses all prophets of being power-hungry fools, but Tiresias turns the insult back on tyrants like Creon. In Sophocles' play Antigone, the character Teiresias appears at the king's palace in Thebes to instruct Creon, and the audience, of course, on the inevitability of fate. Though, like Oedipus, the Chorus cannot believe the truth of what Tiresias has said, the Chorus does not believe itself to be untouchable as Oedipus does, consisting as it does of the plague-stricken, innocent citizens of Thebes. And he does not like what he sees.

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