(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all
Enacted on this same divan or bed;
The hermaphrodite prophet Tiresias, the unifying voice of the poem, claims to have “been there before,” to have experienced all the awful realities of sex as a kind of martyrdom. Here he seems to watch and comment on this modern act of loveless sex (which implicitly parallels the rape of Philomela alluded to earlier) with stoic detachment.
None other than the young Barack Obama commented on The Waste Land:
Facing what he perceives as a choice between ecstatic chaos and lifeless mechanistic order, [Eliot] accedes to maintaining a separation of asexual purity and brutal sexual reality. And he wears a stoical face before this.
Tiresias is also an important character in Sophocles' tragedy Oedipus the King. The offensive and perverse sexual encounter Tiresias “foresuffered” could also alludes to the incest or murder, the darker sides of sex.
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