"I, who the sceptre which he wielded wield;
I, who have mounted to his marriage bed;
I, in whose children (had he issue known)
His would have claimed a common brotherhood;
Now that the evil fate bath fallen o'er him -
I am the heir of that dead king's revenge,
Not less than if these lips had hailed him 'father!'"
A few more sentences introduce to us the old soothsayer Tiresias - for whom, at the instigation of Creon, Oedipus had sent. The seer answers the adjuration of the king with a thrilling and ominous burst -
"Wo - wo! - how fearful is the gift of wisdom,
When to the wise it bears no blessing! - wo!"
The haughty spirit of Oedipus breaks forth at the gloomy and obscure warnings of the prophet. His remonstrances grow into threats. In his blindness he even accuses Tiresias himself of the murder of Laius - and out speaks the terrible diviner:
"Ay - is it so? Abide then by thy curse
And solemn edict - never from this day
Hold human commune with these men or me;
Lo, where thou standest - lo, the land's polluter!"
A dialogue of great dramatic power ensues. Oedipus accuses Tiresias of abetting his kinsman, Creon, by whom he had been persuaded to send for the soothsayer, in a plot against his throne - and the seer, who explains nothing and threatens all things, departs with a dim and fearful prophecy.
After a song from the chorus, in which are imbodied the doubt, the trouble, the terror which the audience may begin to feel - and here it may be observed, that with Sophocles the chorus always carries on, not the physical, but the moral, progress of the drama  - Creon enters, informed of the suspicion against himself which Oedipus had expressed. Oedipus, whose whole spirit is disturbed by the weird and dark threats of Tiresias, repeats the accusation, but wildly and feebly. His vain worldly wisdom suggests to him that Creon would scarcely have asked him to consult Tiresias, nor Tiresias have ventured on denunciations so tremendous, had not the two conspired against him: yet a mysterious awe invades him - he presses questions on Creon relative to the murder of Laius, and seems more anxious to acquit himself than accuse another.
While the princes contend, the queen, Jocasta, enters. She chides their quarrel, learns from Oedipus that Tiresias had accused him of the murder of the deceased king, and, to convince him of the falseness of prophetic lore, reveals to him, that long since it was predicted that Laius should be murdered by his son joint offspring of Jocasta and himself. Yet, in order to frustrate the prophecy, the only son of Laius had been exposed to perish upon solitary and untrodden mountains, while, in after years, Laius himself had fallen, in a spot where three roads met, by the hand of a stranger; so that the prophecy had not come to pass.