How does Teiresias behave more like a father to Oedipus than either Laius or Polybus?  Give 3 examples from the play.

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think any of them are father-figures.  First of all, Laius and Polybus never appear in the play, so you really can't say either of them "behave like a father."  They're dead.  They're not dramatis personae.

Secondly, Tiresias is more of an advisor, not a paternal influence on Oedipus.  He is clearly a subject of the King, not an equal or superior.  Oedipus sends for him, and he obeys.  He says:

Send me home, for you will bear your lot easily
and I mine, if you will yield to me.

Once Oedipus is angered by the truth, he does not address the blind prophet as a father, or even with respect.  Oedipus hurls this at him:

You worst of wicked men! You would anger
a stone! Will you reveal nothing, but instead
show yourself unmovable and impractical?


Do you really think you can say this unpunished?

If anyone is the father, it's Oedipus.  He wields the power, not Tiresias.  Oedipus gets angry at the old man, who is very humble.

Instead of a father-son relationship, these two foils are more like members of the court: Oedipus is a prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, and plaintiff.  Tiresias is the reluctant witness.

Read the study guide:
Oedipus Rex

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