Oedipus the King: Novel Summary: Chapter 3
Tiresias is reluctant to divulge any information to Oedipus. Just send me home. You bear your burdens, I'll bear mine. It's better that way, please believe me, he implores the king. At first, Oedipus is perplexed by the prophet's words, but as the conversation continues, the king grows increasingly hostile and combative. This, in turn, enrages Tiresias, who charges Oedipus with the murder, saying, You are the curse, the corruption of the land!
Oedipus is shocked and outraged at this charge, and refuses to believe what he considers to be nothing more than a personal insult. In fact, he charges, Tiresias and Creon are the true perpetrators, engaged in a conspiracy against the crown. The king goes on, Creon, the soul of trust, my loyal friend from the start steals against me... so hungry to overthrow me he sets this wizard on me, this scheming quack, this fortune-teller peddling lies, eyes peeled for his own profit-seer blind in his craft!
These accusations fuel Tiresias' temper. Before he leaves the scene, he warns, So, you mock my blindness? Let me tell you this. You with your precious eyes, you're blind to the corruption of your life, to the house you live in, those you live with-who are your parents? Do you know? All unknowing you are the scourge of your own flesh and blood, the dead below the earth and the living here above, and the double lash of your mother and your father's curse will whip you from this land one day, their footfall treading you down in terror, darkness shrouding your eyes that now can see the light!
Here, Tiresias prophesizes Oedipus' tragic fate. He alludes not only to Oedipus' murder of Laius but also his marriage to Jocasta, his mother, which soon the reader will learn has already been fated by an oracle. Here as well, Sophocles uses the metaphor of light to underscore the theme of his play. Ironically, Oedipus charges Tiresias with being blind to the truth when in actuality he himself cannot see the awful destiny that is his life.