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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The author of Oedipus, Sophocles, introduces a worthy rival to the main character Oedipus.Tiresias, who considers himself to be an equal to the Great King. Tiresias admits, “You are a king. But where the argument’s concerned // I am your man, as much as a king as you.// I am not your servant, but Apollo’s.”(Sophocles) While simultaneously trying to defend his honour and bring justice to Thebes, Oedipus argues about the integrity of Creon’s source. Tiresias retorts Oedipus’ impulsive accusations, in a studious, and King like manner.Tiresias’ diligent retaliation is dramatically significant because it develops Oedipus’ character; Oedipus is humanized and revered less as a God because of his flaws. The power dynamic shift causes the audience to become more judgemental of Oedipus since someone is holding him accountable for his behaviour. Additionally, the passage adds to the mystery of the plot and creates suspense, through Sophocles’ use of paradox, and imagery which cause the mood to change and creates a compelling story. Both of these elements cause the audience to pay attention to the drastic changes in character, and mood, to highlight the major theme of pride, power, and fate. Ultimately, the passage is intended to show the ignorance of Oedipus, and the awareness of Tiresias, who are symbols for the pervasiveness of fate.
It is said that the truth will set you free, but in the case of Sophocles’ Oedipus, the truth drives a man to imprison himself in a world of darkness by gouging out his eyes. As he scours the city for truth, Oedipus’ ruin is ironically mentioned and foreshadowed in the narrative. With these and other devices Sophocles illuminates the king’s tragic realization and creates a firm emotional bond with the audience.
Throught Oedipus Rex, Oedipus displays his heroism many times. From the Prologue of the play to the moment in which he leaves Thebes, Oedipus' heroics are extremely apparent; however, at the same time, the decisions which make Oedipus a hero ultimately become the decisions which bring him to shame and exile.
Aristotle’s tragic hero is one of the most recognizable types of heroes among literature. A tragic hero combines five major points all of which have to do with the hero’s stature in society, his faults, how these faults effect him, the punishment his faults gets him, and how he reacts to this punishment. Aristotle explained that the story of Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, is a perfect example of a tragic hero. In the play, Oedipus is given a prophecy in which he is told that he will kill his father then marry his mother. As in many Greek plays, Oedipus tries to run from his prophecy and ends up fulfilling exactly what it is foretold. Through the play we see that Oedipus posses many of the characteristics
Sophocles, in Oedipus at Colonus, further expands on the Oresteia’s idea of the polis vs. the oikos. When Oedipus arrives at Colonus, he is a suppliant after being cast into exile by his son, Polynices. Oedipus soon learns from his daughter Ismene that Creon and Polynices want to take Oedipus because there was a prophecy that whatever country contained the body of Oedipus would be free from harm. The prophecy here sets up the conflict within Oedipus’ own oikos. Oedipus himself, seems to be aware of this issue.
When Oedipus hears that he is the killer, his pride is wounded for he cannot accept the truth. His judgment is so blurred that he also begins to view Creon as a traitor for using Tiresias. Creon’s words sum up Oedipus’s rage when he said, “Oedipus, your husband, he’s bent on a choice of punishments for me, banishment from the fatherland or death” (715-717). Jocasta is even surprised with Oedipus’s unusual character, as she said, “For the love of God, Oedipus, tell me too, what is it? Why this rage? You’re so unbending” (767-769). The reason why Oedipus pride is so wounded can be because his negative experiences with the Gods. As a baby, he was condemned to death, yet he survived and learned the horrible truth of his prophecy. In attempt to escape that life, he lost belief in the word of the gods because he refused that the prophecies should come true. This struggle between God and Oedipus only tears his moral beliefs as he has to be stone cold to survive his tribulations. This meant giving no consideration against people who presently posed a great threat to him.
At the beginning, Oedipus is ignorant and is constantly avoids and ignores the truth in order to protect his reputation. Oedipus’ unwillingness to open his ears to the truth develops when Tiresias reveals that he killed Laius and one of his responses is, “Your words are nothing-- / futile” (416-417). Although Oedipus begged to hear Tiresias’ words, he was not willing to pay attention or open his eyes to the unfortunate idea. Oedipus pushes aside the words Tiresias says, refusing to believe that he could be the one who killed Laius, the one who must be cursed. Later, Tiresias brings up Oedipus’ ignorance saying “you’re blind to the corruption of your life” (471), and telling him a few lines later that “No man will ever / be rooted from the earth as brutally as you” (488-489). Oedipus was put in his place and blatantly told that he is ignorant but his rise to knowledge will also bring his demise. Sophocles foreshadowed using Tiresias in that way, but Oedipus was so into avoiding any confrontation with the truth at the beginning that he would respond calling Tiresias’ visions “absurdities” (494). Therefore, even though the truth has been revealed to him, Oedipus still chooses to remain blind to the truth in order to remain good in the eyes of his people.
Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus the King is Sophocles’s first play of “The Theban Cycle.” It tells the story of a king that tries to escape his fate, but by doing so he only brings about his downfall. Oedipus is a classic example of the Aristotelian definition of a tragic hero. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a basically good and noble person who causes his own downfall due to a flaw in his character.
(Sophocles 678). The way Oedipus responded to Tiresias’ words about the killer, shows that Oedipus is prideful and refuses to believe that he himself is the killer. “(Creon) You still resist the truth? You
The heart of the story unravels when Oedipus apparently begins to suffer a reversal of fortunes. At the beginning of the play, Oedipus is referred to by the priest as the “king of the land, [the city of Thebes’] greatest power” (16). Through all of Thebes he is thought of as a hero, a man who saved the city from the Sphinx and in his bravery has promised to find the killer of King Laius in order to save the city from doom and death. However, at the climax of the story Oedipus learns that he has been “cursed in [his] birth, cursed in marriage / and cursed in
Oedipus’ obsession to unravel mysteries is a factor in his fall. In fact, an ignorant Oedipus would have been far better off than a knowledgeable Oedipus (Will 44). During his stay in Corinth, a visitor calls him a bastard. His curiosity takes him to an oracle to seek an explanation, where he learns about his fate. On the other hand, Oedipus would not have embarked on this journey for ‘self-discovery’ if he had dismissed the drunkard’s remarks. Oedipus, as king of Thebes, learns from his wife that they had disposed off the son who was to kill his father; therefore, there was no possibility of the prophecy’s fulfillment. Regardless, he becomes even more determined to dig deeper. He states that he will start afresh and, once again, unravel the mystery (159-160). Indeed, Oedipus takes a step closer to his fate with every piece of information he gathers. Thus, his unyielding desire to unravel truths that could have been better left buried, leads him to the tragic revelation about his
Hans Rockwell 8/26/17 Question 1 Question 1.) One of the responses people usually have about Oedipus is if he really deserved the fate that he ended up with. It’s not his fault that Jocasta and Laius tried to outsmart fate and dispose of him.
The tale of Oedipus and his prophecy has intrigued not only the citizens of Greece in the ancient times, but also people all over the world for several generations. Most notable about the play was its peculiar structure, causing the audience to think analytically about the outcomes of Oedipus’ actions and how it compares with Aristotle’s beliefs. Another way that the people have examined the drama is by looking at the paradoxes (such as the confrontation of Tiresias and Oedipus), symbols (such as the Sphinx), and morals that has affected their perceptions by the end of the play. Nonetheless, the most important aspect is how relevant the story is and how it has influenced modern ideas like that of Freud and other people of today.
Later legends maintain that Zeus christened the site the “center of the world” when he released two eagles from opposite ends of the earth. The eagles met at Delphi. Zeus marked the spot with a large egg-shaped stone called the omphalos
“Oedipus the King” contains many characters with differing characteristics. Some of these characteristics go hand-in-hand with the two main themes in the play.Tiresias and Oedipus in the play “Oedipus the King” are conflicting characters. These two characters illustrate the contrasting the differences of blindness & sight and knowledge & ignorance, and different interpretations of these ideas. The themes blindness & sight and knowledge & ignorance are similar in how they relate to each character.