The Use of Religion as a Literary Element in Oedipus Rex

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The Use of Religion as a Literary Element in Oedipus Rex and how it Influences the Use of Religion in Modern Western Literature Famous novelist, C.S. Lewis, stated, “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become” (“Literature Quotes”). Specifically, religion is a significant literary element in several different genres and time periods. In Ancient Greece, plays were the most popular form of literature. Sophocles, the famous Greek playwright, wrote a series of plays called the “Oedipus Cycle”. As a part of the “Oedipus Cycle”, the story of Oedipus Rex, also known as, Oedipus the King highlights the life of a ruler who learns about his disturbing past through a plague that has tormented his city as punishment to the previous king. Oedipus opens his eyes to the horrible truth and discovers that he had killed his own father and married his mother, Jocasta, because of a prophecy set by the Greek gods before he was born. In Oedipus Rex, the Greek gods carry great influence over the people of Thebes by controlling the fates of citizens, getting revenge where they see fit, and acting as the final decision makers in the eyes of the Thebians. Oedipus Rex and other examples of Greek literature influence the use of religion in modern Western literature.

Sophocles’ tragic play was more than just a performance. It was a ceremony to entertain but more importantly, to honor the Greek gods. Oedipus Rex is a perfect example of a typical ...

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