The lovely goddess, Kirke, told Odysseus that he may return to his home after he stopped at the Land of the Dead. She told Odysseus that he will encounter Tiresias, the blind prophet from Thebes. She told him that after he had talked with him, he will be able to return to Ithaka. Odysseus obeyed Kirke, and he and his men sailed off to find the Land of the Dead to talk to the blind prophet.
Tiresias, the prince of Thebes, revealed himself to Odysseus, carrying a golden staff. Tiresias told Odysseus that he and his men would encounter the grazing herds of Helios on Thrinakia. Tiresias told Odysseus that no matter what happened, avoid the livestock. Tiresias prophesized that if Odysseus and his men ate the cattle, there would be destruction for his ship and crew. Tiresias also told Odysseus that when he returned home to Ithaka, he would find ignorant men, courting his lady and eating his food. He told him that after he dealt with the suitors, by killing them or sending them away, he would have to do one last thing. He told Odysseus to find the place where no man knew of the sea and ate only unsalted meat. Tiresias told him that someone will see the oar he will be carrying on his shoulder, and they will ask him, "What winnowing fan is that upon your shoulder?" Odysseus will stick the oar into the ground. He will then make a sacrifice, such as a ram or bull, to the Lord Poseidon. Tiresias told Odysseus that he can return home after he has done all of this.
When Odysseus and his men landed on Thrinakia, they were starving. They had had storm troubles, and they had run out of food on the ship. Odysseus warned his men not to eat the cattle of the son god, Helios. Odysseus fell asleep, and he woke up to his men feasting on the cattle. He was very upset because he knew they would be punished. Nothing happened to the men at first, so they did not suspect that they would be severely punished for eating the sun god's cattle. When Odysseus and his men had started to sail away, the god Zeus sent down lightening bolts, wrecking the ship and killing all the men, except Odysseus. Odysseus was saved because he obeyed the gods. Odysseus washed up on Kalypso's island.
Tiresias was a scapegoat in the poem, The Odyssey. Tiresias was a very wise, blind prophet, but in many mythology stories, his wisdom was neglected. In book XI, A Gathering of Shades, Tiresias warned Odysseus and his men not to eat the cattle of the sun god Helios. Tiresias warned the men, "Avoid those kine, hold fast to your intent, and hard seafaring brings you all to Ithaka. But if you raid the beeves, I see destruction of ship and crew." (XI, 124-127) Odysseus' men had heard the prophesy, but they chose to ignore it. Odysseus fell asleep, but when he woke up, he found his men eating the cattle. Odysseus cried aloud: "'O Father Zeus and gods in bliss forever, you made me sleep away this day of mischief! O cruel drowsing, in the evil hour! Here they sat, and a great work they contrived.'" (XII, 475-478) The men were killed for eating the cattle.
|The part of the poem where Odysseus and his men met Tiresias represented The Underground archetype. The Land of the Dead was very dark and mysterious, and it was a testing place for Odysseus. Tiresias told Odysseus not to eat the cattle that belonged to the sun god Helios. Odysseus was the only man that survived that test. All of the other men ate the cattle and were struck dead as their punishment.|
In the Heroic Journey, the hero meets a wise and helpful guide; Tiresias was Odysseus' guide in The Odyssey. Tiresias warned Odysseus of the suitors courting his wife back at home. Tiresias told Odysseus "'Though you survive alone, bereft of all companions, lost for years, under strange sail shall you come home, to find your own house filled with trouble: insolent men eating your livestock as they court your lady. Aye, you shall make those men stone in blood!'" (XI, 127-132) With Tiresias' knowledge, Odysseus was able to plan out how he will deal with the suitors and get rid of them. Tiresias was definitely helpful to Odysseus and filled him with important knowledge and confidence.
The character Tiresias has appeared in many other literature writings besides The Odyssey. Tiresias plays a very important role in the play, Oedipus. Tiresias warns Oedipus not to discover the truth about himself, but Oedipus does not listen. Oedipus takes the blind prophet's wisdom for granted and insults him. Tiresias had the knowledge to help Oedipus, but Oedipus chose to ignore him.
Tiresias had appeared in a poem called Tiresias. The poem is very descriptive and very powerful. Tiresias pleads in the poem to have a better life, but he is unsure of exactly what he wants.
Mikhail Ianpolski wrote a book called The Memory of Tiresias: Intertextuality and Film. The author, Mikhail Ianpolski attempts to develop the theory of cinematic intertextuality. He states that cinema is a link of transparent, mimetic pieces intermixed with quotations that Ianpolski calls "textual anomalies". He challenged the Normalization of meaning and seek to branch out to the unlimited field of cultural history.
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