Oedipus Rex

Tiresias Character Analysis

The blind prophet or seer. He knows that the terrible prophecy of Oedipus has already come true, but doesn't want to say what he knows. Only when Oedipus accuses him of treachery does Tiresias suggest that Oedipus himself is guilty of the murder of King Laius. He leaves Oedipus with a riddle that implies, plainly enough for the audience to understand, that Oedipus has killed his father and married his mother.

Tiresias Quotes in Oedipus Rex

The Oedipus Rex quotes below are all either spoken by Tiresias or refer to Tiresias. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Oedipus Rex published in 1982.
Lines 341-708 Quotes
Just send me home. You bear your burdens,
I'll bear mine. It's better that way,
please believe me.
Related Characters: Tiresias (speaker), Oedipus
Page Number: 364-366
Explanation and Analysis:

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Did you rise to the crisis? Not a word,
you and your birds, your gods—nothing.
No, but I came by, Oedipus the ignorant,
I stopped the Sphinx! With no help from the birds,
the flight of my own intelligence hit the mark.
Related Characters: Oedipus (speaker), Tiresias
Page Number: 449-453
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

No man will ever
be rooted from the earth as brutally as you.
Related Characters: Tiresias (speaker), Oedipus
Page Number: 488-489
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Blind who now has eyes, beggar who now is rich,
he will grope his way toward a foreign soil,
a stick tapping before him step by step.
Related Characters: Tiresias (speaker), Oedipus
Page Number: 517-519
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Tiresias Character Timeline in Oedipus Rex

The timeline below shows where the character Tiresias appears in Oedipus Rex. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 1-340
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
...anyone who defies his orders. The leader of the chorus suggests that Oedipus send for Tiresias, the blind seer. Oedipus announces that he has already done so. Soon, blind Tiresias arrives,... (full context)
Lines 341-708
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Oedipus asks Tiresias, the prophet, to help Thebes end the plague by guiding him to the murderers of... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
Now angry, Oedipus accuses Tiresias of plotting to kill Laius. This upsets Tiresias, who tells Oedipus that Oedipus himself is... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
Oedipus convinces himself that Creon has put Tiresias up to making these accusations in attempt to overthrow him. He mocks Tiresias's blindness and... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
As the men continue to argue, Tiresias prophesies that Oedipus will know who his parents are by the end of the day,... (full context)
Sight vs. Blindness Theme Icon
Finding Out the Truth Theme Icon
Action vs. Reflection Theme Icon
...Creon tries to defend himself against the charges. He claims he has no idea what Tiresias was going to say, and has no desire to be king. He suggests that Oedipus... (full context)
Lines 709-997
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Jocasta asks how Oedipus's argument with Creon started. Oedipus tells her that Creon sent Tiresias to accuse Oedipus of Laius's death. Jocasta responds that Oedipus shouldn't worry about the seer's... (full context)