How does the author of Oedipus Rex use dramatic irony to create tension?
The interaction between Oedipus and the blind prophet, Teiresias, creates a great deal of tension as a result of dramatic irony. Oedipus calls the prophet to the palace in order to gain some insight into Laius's murder. However, when Teiresias refuses to tell Oedipus what he knows, Oedipus becomes irate and accuses Teiresias of being in cahoots with his own brother-in-law (and uncle), Creon. He rashly claims that they must be plotting against him to put Creon on the throne. Oedipus rails against the prophet, insulting and mocking him, his own anger growing and growing. All the while, the audience knows that Teiresias is only trying to protect Oedipus from the all-too-painful truth: that the king has, in fact, killed his own father and married and sired children with his mother. Their interaction builds tension as it creates so much anger within the tragic hero, causing him to behave impulsively and without due consideration of the warnings he is given by well-meaning others.
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