Though, there are different stories of Tiresias, but according to Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind prophet of Thebes and legend has it that he was transformed into a woman when he tried to separate two snakes having sexual intercourse on the road and he remained a woman for…
There are different versions of how Tiresias became blind. One version says that he was blinded by the goddess, ‘Athena’ because he saw her nakedness when she was taking her bath (Watling 17); another story says that he was blinded by the goddess wife of Zeus, Hera as he angered her by saying that women had nine times more pleasure than men when making love and another one says that he was blinded by the gods for disclosing their secrets (Hyginus, Fabulae 75). Zeus compensated Tiresias by granting him long life and a gift of foresight after his wife, Hera had blinded him.
Another legend has it that, the gift of prophecy of Tiresias was bestowed on him by Athena in compensation of his lost sight after his mother Chariclo pleaded to Athena to restore his sight (Watling). When Tiresias was transformed to a woman, he married and had children and one of them, ‘Manto’ was also endowed with the gift of prophecy (Sophocles).
Tiresias was a mysterious being in the sense that at a point in his life, he was a man and at another point, he was transformed into a woman. Due to the fact that Tiresias made his mark as a great prophet, his name was “a common title for soothsayers throughout Greek legendary history.”(Graves 105).
Tiresias played a great role in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and he was of great importance as his relevance in the play was without doubt. When Oedipus the king needed help, it was Tiresias that he could call, as Oedipus needed him to reveal the person that killed his father, Laius, a man that Oedipus never knew was his father at that point. Tiresias started his revelation by stating that “I tell you this: the man youve searched for all along with threats and fanfares for the murder of King Laius- that man, I say, is here.” (Sophocles 41). It was Tiresias that eventually told Oedipus that he was the one that killed his father unknowingly and this represented a twist in the play as the ...
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