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Oedipus And Christianity Essay, Research Paper
Responsibility was a big deal in the story Oedipus Rex. Even though the gods knew what he was going to do, he still had the free will to do so. This is quite similar to the beliefs of the Christian religion. Christians are accustomed to the idea that God is all knowing, yet we as humans have the gift of free will and that makes us responsible for our own actions. It seems to be similar in the tale of Oedipus Rex and in Greek mythology as a whole.
The ideas of this story within the bounds of Greek mythology seem to coincide quite well with the Christian faith; it is almost as if Sophocles meant to copy the ideas of a religion that was not invented until 425 years after his story was written. That makes this impossible, yet it may just prove again the point that there are many similarities within all of the different religions and denominations of these faiths.
The whole idea of similarities of free will within Christianity and this story seem to keep flowing. In both Christianity and Oedipus Rex there are omniscient forces that created everything and spend eternity surveying over their glorious works of art. For the most part, these “greater beings” let people figure things out for themselves. The inhabitants of their creations are not completely the God or god’s marionette puppets though. They have to figure things out on their own, they think act, and feel very much so and totally on their own. This is called free will. The basic idea is that the “higher being or beings” know exactly what is going to occur, but they let the humans figure things out on their own.
Which brings us to our title character Oedipus. There was a prophecy at birth that he would take the life of his father and then shortly after he would take his mother’s hand in marriage. The main mythological figure in this tale is Apollo. He has the knowledge that this will occur, and he tells Teiresius that this will occur. That is not unlike Christianity when God comes down and tells Noah that there will be a great flood. Oedipus has no idea of this and when he finds out he doesn’t believe it. But in the beginning he has no idea of this fact, this is due to the fact that this was told to his parents and not to him because he was still an infant. When the king and queen were told this, they immediately and reluctantly told one of the servants to take the child away and have Oedipus’s life snuffed out. So to make a long story short, Oedipus was left hanging from a tree by his ankles and a shepherd who gave him to another shepherd. Now this shepherd gave the young child to the king and queen of another island. He was raised without the knowledge of his true heredity. Thusly, he could not have seen the gross erroneous event that was about to occur and change his life drastically and cause his eventual downfall after this series of events occurs. But even without the knowledge of his horrendous future he still used free will to kill the man he met in the woods and marry the Queen of Thebes.
When Oedipus finds out that he is the bearer of the plague that was brought down Thebes he blinds himself and then he leaves to wander in his own blindness and never ending pain. This is not unlike the punishment given to people who are poor Christians, they are doomed to hell and punished for all of eternity in a fiery pain.
The fact of free will is similar to the consensus in the Christian religion as well. Regardless of whether or not you choose what is right, you still make the choice, while God still knows what will happen and you don’t. Although God knows what choice you will make, you still make that choice, and that is your free will, to make the choice that will dictate the next event in your path in life. So in turn, you are responsible for what you are going to do because you still have the free will to or not to do it or make the opposing choice.
God knows that you will not, yet you still given another option to choose from. This places the will in your hands and removes any need for God to tell you what is going to occur. He wants you to choose and make the correct choice in order to make you a better, and a smarter person because what kind of person would you be if God told you everything that was going to happen and what the consequences would be. It would make life cheap and it would not prove anything to him as far as what type of person you really are and whether or not you deserve to go to heaven. This is why God relies so heavily on the choices you make, because these choices along with all the others you will make or already have made will dictate the life you lead.
So basically it is not too difficult to see where the paths of the Christian religion and the story of Oedipus Rex cross. It happens on many different levels and for many different reasons. These reasons are not obvious when you first look at the story. If you look deep down in between the lines you will eventually find many different versions of why free will so oh so very obvious to anyone with any sort of background in both the tale of Oedipus Rex and the Christian faith.
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