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What does Tiresias tell Odysseus

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Tiresias is a famous blind seer of Apollo. He gives a prophecy to Odysseus about his further journey and its end. The seer says that Odysseus’ voyage home will be full of difficulties and hardships. He warns him about the grazing herds of Helios on Thrinakia. He mentions arrogant men eating his food and courting his wife, and sacrifice to Poseidon.

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Tiresias’s prophecy plays a critical role in the Odyssey. It leads to the successful end of Odysseus’s journey to his inherent island Ithaca. The prophecy primarily warns about troubles that Odysseus’s team will face. The troubles occur because Odysseus blinded the Cyclops, Poseidon’s son. First, he predicts the meeting of Helios’s grazing herds on Thrinakia. He advises that Odysseus and his team avoid these herds and eat them in no case. The second prophecy relates to Odysseus’s arrival to his home, Ithaca. There he meets arrogant, crude, bold men. The suitors eat from his table and court his faithful wife.

Furthermore, Tiresias indicates that Odysseus must get rid of the suitors. He should either slay them or send them away from the island, which ultimately occurs. The final words concern a trip to a land where nobody knows about the sea and consumes only unsalted meat. In this place, a stranger will ask Odysseus carrying the oar, “What winnowing fan is that upon your shoulder?” Having heard this, he should thrust his paddle in the ground and sacrifice to Poseidon. Only in this way Odysseus can die in peace.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'What does Tiresias tell Odysseus'. 28 January.

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