The story is a little more twisted than that making the note even more
interesting. Didn't Hera in a fit of temper take Tiresias's sight away.
Specifically over Tiresias having said that women have greater pleasure in
sex. Since an act of one God cannot be negated by another, Zeus had to
find a way around it. Couldn't let Hera get the upper hand. Hera had taken
present sight so Zeus gave Tiresias foresight. No one had taken away
Tiresias's "past sight" and since the present is the past as the future
becomes known, Tiresias can now see the present by foreseeing the past.
It becomes a neat little philosophical study of time, man and culture.
For all those gender benders out there note that the Tiresias of TWL is able
to foresee the future and therefore is the Tiresias that has been rewarded
by Zeus. He is fully a "He" and not gender shifting. However, he does
have knowledge of what being a woman is all about. That and knowing the
future must have taken much of the fun, fantasy and hope out of life. A
reward becomes a scourge and Hera wins out in the end yet again.
A question. If the present has no reality (being always either future or
past) and If a poem is a representation isn't it necessarily a
representation of either the future or the past? Or would a symbolist think
that the mind's processing of a symbol is always an act in the present so
that a symbolist poem is a way of achieving a present poem in the mind of
McIntosh, NM, USA
From: Jennifer Formichelli <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2001 7:12 AM
Subject: Re: fragmentation in The Waste Land
>----- Original Message -----
>From: <[log in to unmask]>
>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2001 6:03 AM
>Subject: Re: fragmentation in The Waste Land
>> and since it's really the women telling the story (Arguably Ophelia but
>> Sibyl could certainly be an overarching voice -- the Tiresias idea is
>> the fact that the Sibyl turns things around can explain the entire poem.
> Eliot held, in 'The Frontiers of Criticism', 1956 (OPP) and elsewhere
>that poetry could not be 'explained'.
> You write that the 'Tiresias idea is b.s.'. Does no one think it funny
>that Eliot wrote in his 'Notes', (I paraphrase) that what Tiresias sees is
>in fact the substance of the poem? Tiresias, I believe, was blind. The gods
>gave him inner sight when he lost his eyesight.