Tiresias, from “Oedipus the King” by the Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, is a blind prophet and whilst he is only on the stage for a little time he plays a major role by what he does and what he represents. Tiresias enters the play after being summoned by Oedipus to tell him of the murderer of Laius, the recent King. Tiresias for the sake of Oedipus does not tell him the truth at the start saying that “what will come will come. Even if I shroud it all in silence”. In is conversation, Sophocles, uses Tiresias as a turning point in the plot as it is the beginning of Oedipus’ downfall. As well as that Sophocles uses Tiresias to represent many of the key ideas in the play. Tiresias represents the idea of fate and how no matter what he says Oedipus’ fate will come to pass. He also represents power and knowledge as while Oedipus believes he holds the power he does not at Tiresias is the only man on the stage to know the truth of Oedipus’ past. Tiresias is also the main symbol for the idea of sight and blindness as he can see everything but cannot see what is in front of him where as Oedipus who can see perfectly cannot actually see everything. Tiresias is a key character in “Oedipus the King” as he brings about the turning point in the plot and represents many of Sophocles core ideas of the play.
Fate and Free Will are two of the most important ideas conveyed by Sophocles through the use of Tiresias. Throughout the play Oedipus is stuck in thought about whether his life is to be ruled by fate or by chance and free will. Tiresias is a prophet, obtained to tell the truth. It is he who controls Oedipus’ fate. Up until the entrance of Tiresias, Oedipus is only really concerned by chance and free will largely du...
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...ower in the play. Oedipus begins the play with all the power in the world as he is the King yet his conversation with Tiresias is the turning point in the play and the moment that he loses all of his power as with his knowledge Tiresias stands up to and defies his King which is a very powerful thing to do. Finally, Tiresias is a blind prophet. A man that can see all without seeing anything. This in itself is very clever by Sophocles but by pairing Tiresias with Oedipus the idea is ingenious. Tiresias perfectly portrays Sophocles idea of sight and blindness as while Tiresias is an all seeing blind man, Oedipus walks around confidently yet can really see nothing and his metaphorically blind. Tiresias is a minor character in the play yet due to his character he becomes an all important part of the play as he represents many of Sophocles ideas in his short time on stage.
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