Using specific examples, explain how this image and Tiresias' advice apply to the play, "Antigone."in order to know the will of the gods, Tiresiaswent"to test the burnt sacrifices on...

Using specific examples, explain how this image and Tiresias' advice apply to the play, "Antigone."

in order to know the will of the gods, Tiresiaswent"to test the burnt sacrifices on the blazing altars." From these he says "no fire burning on the victims.Rather,upon the embers,a dripping ooze trickled from the thigh pieces; it smoked and sputtered, and the bile was scattered in the air,and the bones lay bare of the fat that covered them."

He concludes,"think on these things, my child; for every huan being makes mistake;but when he has made a mistake,that man is no longer foolish and unhappy who remedies the evil into which he has fallen and is not stubborn."

Using specific examples, explain how this image and Tiresias' advice apply to the play.

Expert Answers
linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tiresias is talking to Creon, who is agonizing over a law he has just decreed. Creon won the throne by defeating his own nephew Polyneices, whose brother Eteocles fought on Creon's side. Now Creon has given Eteocles a glorious funeral and has left the body of Polyneices on the field to rot. He has decreed that anyone who buries the body will be stoned to death. He has forgotten that he has two nieces who loved their brothers and want them both to be given honorable burials. One of the sisters, Antigone, does just that, and when Creon finds out, he realizes he's created a problem for himself.

Despite the circumstances of her birth, Antigone is a princess. The people of Thebes will not take kindly to having their princess stoned to death. However, if Creon goes back on a law the first time one is broken, the people won't take him seriously as a leader. There will be anarchy.

What Tiresias is telling Creon in this speech is that wise men know when to admit that they were wrong and need to change their minds. Rather than making an example of Polyneices by leaving his body on the battlefield, Tiresias says:

O King, thy willful temper ails the State,
For all our shrines and altars are profaned
By what has filled the maw of dogs and crows,
The flesh of Oedipus' unburied son.

The gods are angry because their temples are being defiled. Being a tragedy, however, it is too late by the time Creon realizes his mistake.