The complete fate of “Oedipus Rex,” is foreshadowed by Teiresias, the prophet in Scene II: But it will soon be shown that he is a Theban, A revelation that will fail to please. A blind man, Who has his eyes now; a penniless man, who is rich now; And he will go tapping the strange earth with his staff To the children with whom he lives now he will be Brother and father- the very same; to her Who bore him, son and husband- the very same Who came to his father’s bed, wet with his father’s blood. This paper will discuss the elements of Scene II from “Oedipus Rex,” a play by Sophocles.
The script analysis will include: a list of events from the development through to the climax of the story, interaction with other characters, the significance of the setting, allusion, as well as the unpredictability of drama interest through the character of Teiresias. In Scene II of “Oedipus Rex,” the plot begins in the heart of murder. A King (Laios) has been murdered, and Oedipus seeks retribution. The city of Thebes is suffering from a plague, which is symbolic of the blight about to befall Oedipus. He sends for Teiresias, a blind prophet, to aid his search for the assassin.
Teiresias avoids the discussion, for he has envisioned the bleak truth: “Let me go home. Bear your own fate, and I’ll bear mine. It is better so: trust what I say. ” (40. 62-64) Oedipus presses Teiresias for information, and after much prodding, the prophet concedes; revealing that Oedipus has through circumstance, killed his father and married his mother. Oedipus becomes very angry throughout the revelation. He questions the validity of the prophet’s skill. Oedipus believes that the prophet has sided with his rival, Creon. Teiresias leaves Oedipus to mull over the disclosure.
Interaction with other characters is a key element of this scene, for it sets in motion the fate of Oedipus. Teiresias did not want to share his disturbing knowledge with Oedipus as revealed in Scene II: Oedipus: In God’s name, we all beg you- No; I will never tell you what I know, Now it is my misery; then it will be yours. Oedipus in his thirst for knowledge sealed his own fate. The prophet was relentless as he dispelled the truth of the murder of Laios. In disbelief, Oedipus disputed the powers of Teirsias: Has your mystic mummery ever approached the truth? When that hellcat the Sphinx was performing here,
What help were you to these people? He revelled in his own glorious feat of the dispelling of the Sphinx: Oedipus the simple man, who knows nothing I thought it out for myself, no birds helped me! And this man you think that you can destroy, These quotes exemplify the dissention between Oedipus and Teiresias, as pride and conflict collide. It is of interest to note that, while Oedipus believes that he has power over the prophet. It is ironic that it is in reality the reverse. Teiresias held the power of knowledge over Oedipus. He had the power of introducing a poison in the conscience of Oedipus that would lead to his demise.
The interaction of characters in this scene has proven to be an effective tool for revelation of character. The setting of the scene is significant, for it defines the character flaws of Oedipus. At home in his palace, he feels great pride in his position of saviour for the people of Thebes. Oedipus is well aware of the power that he holds, as he arrogantly announces: “Listen to me, act as the crisis demands, And you shall have relief from all these evils. ” (39. 3-4) Oedipus also believes that he holds superior standing than Teiresias: “Am I to bear this from him? Damnation. Take you! Out of this place!
Out of this place! Out of my sight! ” (42. 38-40) The setting holds impact, for Oedipus will not stand to be confronted in his palace. He sees the palace as a part of his power, which should not be challenged. Indirect references are made throughout the scene by Teiresias. Allusion is an effective literary tool in “Oedipus Rex,” for it reveals the unwillingness of the prophet to play part in the unravelling of Oedipus. Teiresias never refers to Oedipus by name, only refers to him indirectly: The man you have been looking for all this time, The damned man, the murderer of Laios, The man is in Thebes.
To your mind he is foreign-born, But it will soon be shown that he is a Theban, A revelation that will fail to please. Teiresias speaks in riddles, always hinting at the involvement of Oedipus. The use of allusion is clear to the reader/audience, but Oedipus is reeling from piecing the hints together. This is ironic, for Oedipus is proud of his accomplishment of deciphering the riddle of the Sphinx. Irony is present, for now it is his own fate that he must solve. Scene II in “Oedipus Rex” involves an element of unpredictability. As Oedipus sends for the clairvoyant, the reader expects a mystical moment of truth.
Instead we are presented with a stubborn character, evasive in dispelling the secret of his vision. In this scene it becomes a match of egos as Teiresias and Oedipus spar over the possession of information. The reader realizes that it is Teiresias that has control, and that Oedipus is struggling to keep his wits. This turn of events is unpredictable, for moments earlier in the scene, Oedipus asserted his perceived authority. Teiresias, a blind seer proves to be dominant over the leader of Thebes. In Scene II, the reader is presented with an array of events. The prophet Teiresias becomes the nucleus of the scene.
It is through this medium that we are able to view the frailties of the character of Oedipus. Teiresias gives insight into the ill fate that awaits Oedipus. Foreshadowing is the main theme of this scene, which sets the tone for the rest of “Oedipus Rex. ” The dramatic elements of the interaction between Teiresias and Oedipus, the setting, allusion, as well as the unpredictable outcome, leave the reader absorbed in the content of the play. The reader eagerly anticipates the fate and struggle of Oedipus, as he journeys towards the awareness that will consume him.