What are the differences of character between Oedipus and Teiresias in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles?

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Teiresias, the blind seer, is portrayed as a wise individual who receives visions of the future. Teiresias understands the awful truth behind the curse that plagues Thebes and is reluctant to tell Oedipus that he is responsible for the death of King Laius and is married to his mother....

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Teiresias, the blind seer, is portrayed as a wise individual who receives visions of the future. Teiresias understands the awful truth behind the curse that plagues Thebes and is reluctant to tell Oedipus that he is responsible for the death of King Laius and is married to his mother. When Oedipus demands that he tell him the truth to save Thebes, Teiresias is portrayed as being rather indifferent regarding his supreme knowledge and the entire situation. He essentially tells Oedipus that knowing the future is useless because whatever will happen is bound to happen anyway. Teiresias is also initially tolerant and sensitive towards Oedipus and does not want the difficult news to harm the king. However, Oedipus is insistent that he tell him the truth and even accuses him conspiring with Creon to overthrow him.

King Oedipus is depicted as an ignorant, temperamental individual who is neurotic and brash. His unending search for truth eventually leads to his downfall after he discovers that he has fulfilled the prophecy by murdering his father and sleeping with his mother. Unlike Teiresias, who sees the future and knows the truth, Oedipus refuses to believe that the prophecy was fulfilled and denies the truth. Oedipus is also a determined individual who attempts to escape his fate and challenge his destiny by running away from home. In contrast, Teiresias is wise enough to know that one cannot escape their destiny and accepts the fact that one's fate is predetermined.

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In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Oedipus is the King of Thebes and Teiresias a prophet. In character both are intelligent, stubborn, and important within their society.

The first difference is in their roles. Teiresias is a prophet who is devoted entirely to his role as the spokesperson of the gods; he is neither ruler nor ruled within human society but instead independent, accountable only to the gods.

Oedipus, on the other hand, is a ruler appointed by popular acclaim, and is responsible for human affairs. Because, until we discover his true birth, he holds his position by popular acclaim, his legitimacy is temporary and consensual rather than divinely authorized.

At the end of the play, when Oedipus gives up his rulership and blinds himself to wander, he becomes much like Teiresias.

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