In Oedipus Rex (Scene 1), why is Tiresias at first reluctant to reveal the truth to Oedipus and the Chorus?

Expert Answers

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

Tiresias's reluctance is rooted in the awful nature of the truth and the understanding that little good can come from disclosing it to Oedipus.  The understanding that Tiresias possesses can only bring unlimited misery to Oedipus, and the reluctance to come clean with lies in this idea.  It is one of the first moments where the theme of knowledge being a form of suffering is demonstrated in the play.  Oedipus demands to know the truth, and in this process, the prophet understands how painful this will be.  His reluctance to disclose it is testimony to this idea.  Only being after goaded by Oedipus with charges of disloyal does he disclose the awful truth.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial