The Role of Teiresias in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex Essay

The Role of Teiresias in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex Essay

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The Role of Teiresias in Sophocles'Oedipus Rex (the King)


Teiresias uses his psychic abilities to foreshadow the anguish and destruction that Oedipus will encounter after he learns the truths of his life. Teiresias is also responsible for further developing the theme of blindness by using his own physical blindness to reveal to Oedipus his mental blindness. Lastly, Teiresias is ultimately responsible for imposing dramatic irony because of his great knowledge of the truth of Oedipus. In the play, Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, the minor character of Teiresias is responsible for foreshadowing Oedipus’ fate, developing the theme of blindness, and also illustrating dramatic irony.

In Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, the character of Teiresias is developed in such a way that he utilizes many dramatic devices in order to reveal information and move the play along. As a fortuneteller, Teiresias is able to see the fate and destruction of Oedipus’ life. Teiresias uses his great ability to reveal to the reader the downfalls in Oedipus’ life that will soon occur because of his quest to know his fate. The character of Teiresias demonstrates the use of foreshadowing in order for the reader to be aware of Oedipus’ fate.

You can not see the wretchedness of your life, Nor in whose house you live, no, nor with whom. Where are your father and mother? Can you tell me? You do not even know the blind wrongs that you have done them, on earth and in the world below. But the double lash of your parents’ curse will whip you out of this land some day, with only night upon your precious eyes. Your cries then—where will they not be heard (Sophocles, 403-410)?

This passage foreshadows the destruction and misery that will be a part of Oedipus’ life...


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Bowra, C. M. “Sophocles’ Use of Mythology.” In Readings on Sophocles, edited by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1997.

Segal, Charles. Oedipus Rex: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.

“Sophocles” In Literature of the Western World, edited by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. NewYork: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1984.

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Transl. by F. Storr. New York: Penguin Books, 1992.

Professors Comments:

When quoting, the final punctuation should come after the parentheses not inside the quote. “I say that you live in shame with those most dear to you. You can not see the evil” (Sophocles, 353-354).

You have a strong thesis statement and you thoroughly discuss your thesis points within your paper. Your first two paragraphs should be made into one paragraph for a better introduction.

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