What is an example of irony in Oedipus Rex?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A particularly good example of irony comes when Tiresias, the blind prophet, confronts Oedipus and accuses him of being the one who killed King Laius. Oedipus is outraged at such a suggestion and refuses to listen to Tiresias. If he really is guilty of such a heinous crime, then it also means that the woman who is his wife, Jocasta, is also his mother. And that's just too horrible for him to contemplate.

The irony here is that Tiresias, though blind, has the gift of foresight. This was given to him by the goddess Athena as compensation after she took away his sight. (Athena made Tiresias blind after he accidentally saw her bathing one day.) Despite his disability, however, Tiresias' extraordinary powers of foresight make him a wise and respected seer, someone whose unique abilities to divine the will of the gods mean that his prophecies must always be respected.

Yet, in a further irony, it is Oedipus who is figuratively blind in this particular scene. And it is his blindness, his stubborn...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 843 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team