Representing an Age, Oedipus the King and Everyman Essay

Representing an Age, Oedipus the King and Everyman Essay

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Every society his made its mark on history in one fashion or another. Some do so through war, others through technology. However, They are also identified based on their religious views, often being either Polytheistic or Monotheistic. All cultures have found creative ways to tell stories, which often offer some sort of moral lesson. One of the more popular ways of delivering this message has been through plays. Theatre, having its start in Greece, has always been able to represent cultures beliefs; during Antiquity, Oedipus the King represents the polytheistic religion of the Grecian era, while Everyman represents the monotheistic religion of the Middle Ages.
Oedipus the King was written during the reign of the Greeks, who were a polytheistic people. Lawall et al. writes,
Not only did the great characters of the epic serve as models of conduct for later generations of Greeks, but the figures of the Olympian gods retained, in the prayers, poems, and sculpture of the succeeding centuries, the shapes and attributes set down by Homer. ()
The Greeks believed in many gods and oracles. The oracle in Oedipus the King is the oracle of Apollo, the Greek god of the sun. Oedipus the King represents Antiquity best because it encompasses the polytheistic beliefs of the time. It is important to understand the beliefs of the time in order to understand what gave the people hope and motivation to perform all deeds.
Oedipus reassures his people that he is doing everything possible to save them by consulting the gods. Sophocles writes, “I sent Creon, my wife’s own brother, to Delphi – Apollo the Prophet’s oracle – to learn what I might do or say to save our city” (80-82). To the Greeks there is no higher power than the gods; oracles were ...


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...ntroduction. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 1-12. Print.

Lawall, Sarah et al. "The Middle Ages." Introduction. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 1143-145. Print.

Sophocles. "Oedipus The King." The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 612-52. Print.

Savoie, John. "Abraham and Oedipus: paradigms of comedic and tragic belief." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 65.4 (2013): 228+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.

Thomas, Helen S. "The Meaning of the Character Knowledge in 'Everyman'." Mississippi Quarterly 14.1 (Winter 1960): 3-13. Rpt. in Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800. Ed. Michael L. LaBlanc. Vol. 87. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.

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