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Religious Skepticism: “Oedipus Tyrannus”

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modern history
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Boston College

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school essay
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  1. Introduction
  2. Establishing Oedipus' superiority
  3. Oedipus's first outburst
  4. His attempt to place the blame on everyone but himself
  5. Conclusion

The ancient heroes and rulers all had many great qualities that allowed them to rise to such as level, but all were aware that the gods could take it all away in an instant. Therefore, these great men prayed and sacrificed to the divinities and feared their power greatly. However, in Sophocles' ?Oedipus Tyrannus?, both the king and his wife show a sense of arrogance concerning the oracles and gods. Even if in the beginning he displays belief in the oracles, by the climax Oedipus places himself above such petty soothsayers. While some believe that the gods force you into making choices, Sophocles expresses his belief that even though your future is foretold, it does not prevent a man from taking his own actions. This kind of action was completely out of line for the time and his punishment is severe.

[...] Religious Skepticism: ?Oedipus Tyrannus? The ancient heroes and rulers all had many great qualities that allowed them to rise to such as level, but all were aware that the gods could take it all away in an instant. Therefore, these great men prayed and sacrificed to the divinities and feared their power greatly. However, in Sophocles' ?Oedipus Tyrannus?, both the king and his wife show a sense of arrogance concerning the oracles and gods. Even if in the beginning he displays belief in the oracles, by the climax Oedipus places himself above such petty soothsayers. [...]


[...] Even though Oedipus knows that gods control their lives and they have no say in their fate, he believes he has power over them. Even as Oedipus receives more signs that he is the one of whom the oracle talked, he believes less and less, and gets even angrier. The queen, Jocasta, goes along with the king because she must trust him, and tries to do everything she can to convince him he is right. Jocasta fetches a man who knows about the murder and when she brings him to Oedipus she says, ?Listen to this man. [...]

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