Analysis Of Tiresias In Oedipus

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While Tiresias is physically blind, he can “see” all, including Oedipus’ fate. Tiresias is known as a seer. The author of the book The Seer in Ancient Greece defines a seer as “a professional diviner, an expert in the art of divination” and he then goes on to say, “There is no exact modern equivalent, since he or she combined the role of confidant and personal adviser with that of psychic, fortune-teller, and homeopathic healer” (Flower 22). Although there are many other seers in literature, Tiresias fits this definition perfectly. Within the first few parts of the play Tiresias acts as Oedipus’ fortune-teller; he knows the fate that awaits Oedipus even though Oedipus himself is unaware. With Tiresias, the word sight represents metaphorical…show more content…
He argues that Tiresias would have been seen as a positive example of blindness, as he has special abilities. However, Oedipus seems to view Tiresias negatively, because not only does he not believe him, he does not treat him respectfully. The author also asserts that in many folktales blindness is used as a punishment for crimes, such as theft and rape. In many of these folktales the author refers to, the offender would be blinded for their crimes. He compares this to Oedipus’ actions in the end of the play, even though Oedipus’ blindness is self-inflicted. He asserts that Oedipus acts out his own punishment for his actions by blinding himself with Jocasta’s broaches. Throughout the article the author also compares the different meanings and beliefs about blindness. The author argues that in Greece blindness would have been associated with dread:
Prominent among the meanings is the dread of losing control of one’s life and of being at the mercy of the forces of darkness. One powerful driving energy behind many beliefs about blindness is the deep need to give meaning to uncontrollable and unpredictable events” (Wagner-Lampl
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Creon and Jocasta— and Laius— have committed grave errors and crimes, and committed them as much out of pride as out of fear. Creon and Jocasta thought, with Laius, that they could outwit Apollo. They murdered, or thought they murdered, the heir to the throne. Now they actively withhold, sabotage, and distort the revelations of what they have done. It is this second irony, this other roster of crimes and errors, that Oedipus fearlessly and tenaciously brings to light.
Rosenfield’s assertions about Kreon and Jocasta help to show how deeply rooted this theme of sight and blindness is all throughout Oedipus. Through this theme, Sophocles shows that even though physical sight is what we value most, metaphorical sight, or foresight is just as important. Without metaphorical sight, or foresight, Oedipus is unable to avoid fulfilling the prophecy and therefore loses his physical sight in order to gain the metaphorical sight about his
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