Summary

A young leads in the blind prophet Tiresias. Oedipus begshim to disclose who Laius’s murderer is, however Tiresias answers onlythat he to know the truth however wishes he did not. Perplexed at first,then angry, Oedipus insists the Tiresias call Thebes what the knows.Provoked through the anger and insults of Oedipus, Tiresias starts tohint at his knowledge. Finally, as soon as Oedipus furiously accuses Tiresiasof the murder, Tiresias tells Oedipus the Oedipus himself is thecurse. Oedipus dares Tiresias come say the again, and so Tiresias callsOedipus the murderer. The king criticizes Tiresias’s strength wildlyand insults his blindness, yet Tiresias just responds the the insultswill at some point be rotate on Oedipus by every one of Thebes. Thrust intoa rage by the accusation, Oedipus proceeds come concoct a story thatCreon and Tiresias room conspiring to fall him.

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The leader that the Chorus asks Oedipus come calmdown, yet Tiresias just taunts Oedipus further, saying that theking does not even know that his parents are. This explain bothinfuriates and also intrigues Oedipus, that asks because that the truth of hisparentage. Tiresias answers just in riddles, saying that the murdererof Laius will rotate out to be both brother and also father to his children, bothson and also husband come his mother. The characters exit and also the Chorustakes the stage, confused and unsure whom to believe. They resolvethat they will certainly not believe any kind of of this accusations against Oedipusunless they are shown proof.

Creon enters, soon followed by Oedipus. Oedipus accusesCreon of trying to overthrow him, since it was he who recommendedthat Tiresias come. Creon asks Oedipus to it is in rational, however Oedipussays the he wants Creon murdered. Both Creon and also the leader ofthe Chorus try to acquire Oedipus to know that he’s concoctingfantasies, however Oedipus is resolute in his conclusions and also his fury.

Analysis

As in Antigone, the entrance of Tiresiassignals a vital turning point in the plot. But in Oedipusthe King, Tiresias likewise serves an additional role—his blindnessaugments the dramatic irony the governs the play. Tiresias is blindbut deserve to see the truth; Oedipus has actually his sight but cannot. Oedipusclaims that he longs to understand the truth; Tiresias states that seeingthe fact only bring one pain. In enhancement to this unspoken irony,the conversation between Tiresias and also Oedipus is filled with referencesto sight and eyes. Together Oedipus grows angrier, the taunts Tiresiasfor his blindness, confusing physical sight and insight, or knowledge.Tiresias matches Oedipus insult because that insult, mocking Oedipus forhis eyesight and also for the brilliance that once permitted him to solvethe riddle of the Sphinx—neither high quality is currently helping Oedipusto see the truth.

In this section, the properties swiftness that Oedipus’sthought, words, and activity begins to work versus him. When Tiresias arrivesat line 340, Oedipuspraises him together an all-powerful seer who has shielded Thebes frommany a plague. Just forty lines later, he describes Tiresias as“scum,” and also soon after that accuses that of treason. Oedipus sizesup a situation, makes a judgment, and also acts—all in one instant. Whilethis i was sure expedience was laudable in the first section, itis exaggerated to a allude of close to absurdity in the second. Oedipusasks Tiresias and also Creon a good many questions—questions room histypical mode of deal with and typically a authorize of his quick and also intelligentmind—but castle are merely rhetorical, because that they accuse and presumerather than seek answers. Despite Tiresias has actually laid the truth outplainly prior to Oedipus, the only method Oedipus can interpret the prophet’swords is as an attack, and his quest for information only seeksto confirm what he already believes.

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The Chorus appears terrified and also helpless in this section,and its decided at present 526–572 isfraught v uncertainty and also anxiety. Though, favor Oedipus, theChorus cannot think the fact of what Tiresias has actually said, the Chorusdoes not believe itself to be untouchable together Oedipus does, consistingas the does of the plague-stricken, chaste citizens of Thebes.The Chorus’s speech is complete of images of caves, darkness, lightning,and wings, which suggest darkness, the unknown, and, many significantly,terror striking indigenous the skies. The Chorus’s supplications come thebenevolent god of lines 168–244 arelong past. The gods are still current in this speech, but they space nolonger of any kind of help, since they understand truths that they will certainly not reveal.Thebes is menaced quite than protected by the heavens.