Oedipus Rex starts out with Oedipus as the quick witted and mighty leader of Thebes. He is not, however, the perfect and almighty ruler that the people suspect him to be in the play. This comes to life as Oedipus converses with Teiresias, Kreon, and Jokaste. Sophocles uses Teiresias and Kreon to illuminate the arrogance and short-temperedness that make Oedipus a tragic hero and uses Jokaste to illustrate Oedipus’ blind ignorance.
Teiresias, while being the main catalyst for the play, also plays a vital role as a foil character for Oedipus. Teiresias’ cool calm demeanor as compared to Oedipus’ in their dialogue allows the reader for the first time to see the true extent of Oedipus’ short temper and arrogance. Oedipus quickly loses his temper with Teiresias and goes off on a rampage, “Rage? Why not! And I’ll tell you what I think: You planned it, you had it done, you all but Killed him with your own hands” (329-331). Oedipus not only loses control but also has the audacity and arrogance to accuse one Apollo’s seers of lying and committing the crime himself. This arrogance also appears when Oedipus completely denies Teiresias’ accusations that he is the plague bearer. “I say that you are the murderer whom you seek. Now twice you have spat out infamy. You’ll pay for it” (347-348). The calmness and surety in which Teiresias tells Oedipus that he is guilty contrasts sharply with Oedipus’ behavior at receiving the information. Oedipus becomes outraged and does not just deny the accusation but also takes his arrogance to a new level and threatens the blind seer for saying false truths.
Like Teiresias, Kreon also brings out Oedipus’ anger and arrogance. Kreon is the major foil of the two characters, however. He also clearly contrasts and brings out how Oedipus is quick to judge and blame when he is upset while Kreon rationalizes it all out. “Why? How brazen of you to come to my house, You murderer!” (505-506); and “Now listen to me. You...