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Teiresias

Extended Character Analysis

Teiresias, also spelled "Tiresias" in some translations, is a blind prophet of Apollo, called to Thebes by Oedipus in the hopes that he will reveal who murdered King Laius. Teiresias refuses to reveal the murderer’s identity. This frustrates Oedipus, who then accuses Teiresias of treason and mock his blindness. In response, Teiresias tells Oedipus that Oedipus will regret pursuing this knowledge. He also predicts Oedipus’s blinding and exile.

Teiresias introduces the motif of sight and blindness that runs throughout the play. Though physically blind, Teiresias is able to see reality more clearly because of his prophetic powers. When Oedipus mocks Teiresias’s blindness, Teiresias accuses Oedipus of being blind to the truth. The implication is that physical sight is separate from insight into the world and into oneself. Though Teiresias is blind and Oedipus “hast eyes,” Teiresias is clear-sighted about reality while Oedipus is ignorant. This distinction foreshadows Oedipus’s decision to blind himself after learning the truth about his parentage. Oedipus sacrifices...

(The entire section is 355 words.)