Gods vs. Mortals in Oedipus Rex & the Bacchae

Topics: Dionysus, Oedipus, Greek mythology Pages: 4 (1588 words) Published: November 22, 2005
Anyone who is familiar with Greek mythology has heard a story about tyrannous Zeus, throwing thunderbolts, turning people into animals, or causing other supernatural events while releasing his wrath. He proves time and time again that he is more powerful than any mortal who tries to compete with him. Though Zeus is the mightiest, there are stories about many other gods demonstrating their power over mortals. Two such gods are Apollo and Dionysus. In the stories "Oedipus Rex" and "The Bacchae", these gods conflict with men that are not just average mortals, but respected kings. Although the political position of these kings makes them feel superior to all, the gods in the two stories show them that immortals are far superior to any man. In this way, "Oedipus Rex" and "The Bacchae" present a tension between politics and religion, the result of which reveals that religion indubitably prevails. In "Oedipus Rex", the presence of religion influences Oedipus and his family years before he is even king. The god Apollo determines that when Oedipus grows up, he will kill his father and marry his mother. When Oedipus is only an infant, a prophet tells his parents, King Laius and Queen Jocasta, the prophesized fate of their son. They take this prophecy seriously. Laius and Jocasta respond by binding his feet and giving him to a shepherd, with instructions to leave him on a mountain to die. They now believe that they have defied the prophecy and have overcome the treacherous fate that was predicted for them. Oedipus is given sympathy, however, as he is given to another shepherd who saves him. Oedipus grows up in a town called Corinth, believing that a different man and woman who are part of a different royal family are his parents. He eventually hears the same prophecy that his real parents heard years ago, and responds to it in the same way they did. He tries to avoid his fate by leaving Corinth. On his journey away from the city, he gets into a scuffle with...
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