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A contrast or discrepancy between what is said and what is meant or between what happens and what is expected to happen in life and in literature. In verbal irony, characters say the opposite of what they mean. In irony of circumstance or situation, the opposite of what is expected occurs. In dramatic irony, a character speaks in ignorance of a situation or event known to the audience or to the other characters. Flannery O'Connor's short stories employ all these forms of irony, as does Poe's "Cask of Amontillado."
Teiresias, or Tiresias, is a blind prophet who warns Creon that the gods do not approve of his treatment of Polyneices' body or the punishment of Antigone. Creon insults Teiresias, believing that he's simply blackmailing him for money, but the prophet responds with a prophecy foretelling the death of one of Creon's children and a warning that all of Greece will despise the king if he does not relent. Creon realizes that Teiresias has never been wrong and that he must do his bidding. The prophet is an important part of Sophocles' vision: through Teiresias, the will of the gods is made known, and his very existence implies that there is a definite will of the gods that is far above the domain of man's law.