Tiresias, Oedipus, and Self Essay

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Tiresias, Oedipus Rex, and Self

The play Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles, tells a horrendous tale about one man's quest for the truth. In the play, King Oedipus was burdened with the task of finding his predecessor's murderer so that order may be restored to his kingdom. While his conscious mind was seeking the murderer, his unconscious mind was retarding his progress in order to conceal the truth. Tiresias, prophesies the truth to Oedipus, but Oedipus's unconscious mind would not hear it. Thus, when the awful truth is finally revealed, Oedipus is overwhelmed by it. This causes the physical and emotional wounds that would last him a lifetime. A supplementary piece of literature, Tiresias by Tennyson, was written to complement …show more content…

As one can see, Tennyson's experience proves that he is unready to be as 'enlightened' as his friend. To be 'enlightened' one must be physically and mentally ready, most importantly the person must be touched by the Gods. Without being blessed by the Gods, one is limited to how far one can go on the path of enlightenment. This is similar to the prologue of Oedipus Rex. In the prologue, the kingdom of Thebes is described as: "... tossed on a murdering sea and can not lift her head from the death surge. ... Death alone battens upon the misery of Thebes." (Sophocles, 716) The similarities between the two prologues imply that Oedipus is unready to rule Thebes. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus was not blessed by the Gods to take the throne of Thebes; thus his success as a king was cursed since the prologue. This example proves that one will not be successful in a higher state of being if one is not blessed by the Gods, regardless of how hard one tries to achieve this higher state being. This is an essential point to the understanding of Oedipus. As a man untouched by the Gods, Oedipus is blinded from the truth and remains a man bounded by the flesh.

In scene I of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is confronted with the truth prophesied to him by Tiresias. Tiresias's prophesy was that Oedipus is the murderer he has been seeking. Oedipus's initial reaction to this accusation was that of disbelief, then anger as Tiresias continued his accusations. Kreon told Oedipus that the murderers of

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