I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene and foretold the rest--
I too awaited the expected guest.

--T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Here we see what Eliot considers the end result of the fear of rejection which is so prevalent within his work. "The rest" is this: a love-free, indifferent affair, devoid of character, devoid of meaning. The typist home at teatime is afraid to shun her expected visitor, though the morals of her day clearly dictate that she should. However, there still remains that conflict between what the typist knows is right, and what she, in her probable fear of spinsterhood and ostracism, allows to happen. The expected guest, for his part, pushes onward simply because he meets no resistance from the typist. Why would he do such a thing? He's afraid to admit to himself that she might not really want him, and indeed that he might not really want her. This scene lays bare Eliot's idea of the prevalence of the fear of loneliness in his time.

Why use Tiresias for this scene? Simply because it is such a very predictable thing to happen that he could easily foretell what would happen, once he knew what the setting was. Eliot is suggesting that this happens more than we know, more than it should, and moreover, that it is an almost automatic action. Eliot, above all, is commenting on how broken are the social structures of his society.

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