• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Use of Religious Beliefs in Oedipus and The Stranger

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Use of Religious Beliefs in Oedipus and The Stranger Religion often plays an important role in works of literature. The methods through which religious themes are included may be complex, but ultimately, it is the opinion of the author that is expressed. This is the case when concerning Sophocles's Greek play Oedipus and Camus's The Stranger. Both authors use the same methods - the inclusions of their protagonists' rejection of a higher power and their anger in the presence of religious figures - to present opposite opinions on the value of religion in their societies. In a cultural setting where there are rising numbers of people ignoring the power of the gods, Sophocles encourages people to succumb to their will. On the other hand, Camus, in an atmosphere of Catholicism, brings up the possibility of social oppression through religion. In Oedipus, Oedipus rejects the power of the gods, and believes that he can overcome their will. When he travels to Delphi to hear the truth of his fate, Apollo shows him that he is doomed to murder his father and sleep with his mother. ...read more.

Middle

His reference to Meursault as "Monsieur Antichrist" (p.71) is a further sign of his apprehension towards him. After the chaplain meets with Meursault, he also believes that "[his] heart is blind" (p.120). Although the methods that Sophocles and Camus use are alike, the reasons for which they use them are quite opposite. While Sophocles upholds the value of religion, Camus denounces it. Religion has very little to do with Meursault's murder case, yet the magistrate and the chaplain focus on it more than the case. The fact that Meursault is atheist should be irrelevant, but the religious society surrounding him grasps it and uses it as one of the reasons to sentence him to death. Unless one conforms to society's beliefs, one is labeled as an outsider. Camus therefore portrays the unforgiving oppression that society inflicts through religion, and thus he wishes readers to see its value denounced. However, this is not the only method that Sophocles and Camus both use to reach different goals. They also include their protagonists' anger in the presence of religious figures in order to fulfill their respective purposes. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is thus portrayed as the opposite of a wise old man - he is a man that will do anything in order to force his views onto another person. The chaplain also seems to be unable to accept that Meursault does not harbor the same religious beliefs as him. He "refuse[s] to believe [him]" (p.119) when he learns that Meursault's beliefs are different to his own. Therefore, where Oedipus's arrogance can be translated into his oppression of society's religious beliefs, the magistrate and chaplain's arrogance can be translated into their oppression of an individual that does not conform to society's religious beliefs. Thus, the two authors both use the same methods - the inclusions of their protagonists' rejection of society's religious beliefs and their anger in the presence of religious figures - in order to effectively present their individual opinions of the value of religion in their societies. Sophocles, in a society where people are turning away from the power of the gods, upholds the value of religion. Camus, in a society of imposing Catholicism, denounces its value. Religion therefore plays an important role in Oedipus and The Stranger - the authors' opposite opinions have undoubtedly made it possible for new opinions to be derived. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. What is the role of the chorus in "Oedipus the King" the "Lysistrata".

    type of narrative for the audience as at the end of the first scene, the chorus clarifies the diseased state which is the city of Thebes has descended into "still breeding plague, un-pitied infants lie..and wives and mothers, grey with hoary age..by every alter mourn".

  2. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    the patrician families and to a degree the ordinary people, he was unable to maintain the support of the plebeians and garner that of the rich at the same time even with promises of high office. Caesar was accustomed to his orders not being challenged; he could not comprehend the audacity of his opponents when they opposed him publicly.

  1. Portrayal of blindness in The Outsider and Oedipus the King

    This is clear during his mother's vigil as he avoid showing his emotions by being blinded by a "sudden flash of light". In the description of Meursault killing the Arab, the alliteration of the letter 's' is evident and it shows how the sunlight gives off a searing sensation.

  2. In this essay I will be examining the reasons why against all odds the ...

    It was Sicinnus, a bilingual man that was sent to tell Xerxes a lie, tricking the Persians into dividing up their fleet. Part of his fleet went to attack a believed exit of the Greeks and thus catch them off guard, others were sent to another potential exiting strait whilst

  1. Cinderella - play script

    King: Chris, don't let her get away! (Starts to run up the steps after Cinderella. He passes the Queen, who squeaks yet again) ---The Palace Steps--- (Cinderella runs down the steps and looses her glass slipper. Her ball gown changes into her rags. She runs down into the street.

  2. Outline your understanding of the Oedipus complex and its significance for psychoanalysis.

    Frosh (1987) states that the super-ego appears when the boy internalises the 'prohibitions and symbolic violence of the father' (Frosh, 1987, p.50) in order to identify with his father. This identification occurs as a result of the castration complex. The girl's super-ego is said to develop later as they 'remain

  1. How far do you agree that Sophocles "Oedipus the King" is nothing more than ...

    The audience is aware that the character does not know what they know, and they can see that all the events will culminate in tragedy and their sympathy increases. From the beginning of the play, the audience already knows who the murderer is.

  2. Freud vs. Sophocles

    However, there exists a screen which '"'nothing...can reach consciousness from [the unconscious] without passing'"' (177). This screen is an independent system whose sole purpose is to greet and censor the information from the unconscious and to prevent it from disturbing the equilibrium in consciousness.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work