Antimatter Essay Research Paper 1 PERMEATING EFFECTS

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Antimatter Essay, Research Paper 1 PERMEATING EFFECTS OF RELIGION. When comparing the two works “Oedipus the king” by Sophocles and Henrik Ibsens “Ghosts”, it is at first hard to believe that they have anything in common. But when performing a deeper study of the plays, one will find at least one common topic. The permeation in society of religion. I will in this essay thus try to show how religion permeates society in the Greek tragedy “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles and Norwegian drama “Ghosts” by Ibsen. These two works are very different due to them being written at different times and in completely different settings. The writers have dissimilar understanding of the role of God, and this is reflected in the direct communications between the gods and

Oedipus, in contrast to the indirect contact between God and the society presented to the reader in “Ghosts”. Still, both societies follow the rules and norms, set by their religion. An important similarity which is worth mentioning, is that both plays cover only a short period in time, the happenings all occurs within a few days. In this short time we are only introduced to a few characters, as to create a close relationship between the characters and the reader, giving them life and depth. In “Oedipus the King” one meets a society which believes in direct communications with the gods. Each god was worshipped for their special ability and strength. In the play gods by the names of: Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite and Athena amongst others are mentioned. The people of the ancient

Greek world communicated to their gods through oracles. The oracles were highly pious people who were thought to have a close tie to the gods, and received prophetess of what was going to happen in the future. In “Oedipus Rex” the oracle most often mentioned is the oracle of Delphi, which is one of the best know to the modern world. During the action of the play, when Oedipus realises what he has done, he begs the gods for forgiveness. He turns directly to them with his grief and horror, and then stabs out his own eyes as means of punishment towards himself. In an indirect way he blames the gods for what has happened, but also to lead him through this horror he now has to live with. This may be seen by the following line spoken by Oedipus; ” Apollo. Apollo. It was Apollo,

always Apollo, who brought each of my agonies to birth, but I, nobody else, I, I raised these two hands of mine, held them above my head, and plunged them down, I stabbed out these eyes. [.....]“1 Oedipus is not being judged by the other characters, but supported, as this happening was not to his knowledge at that time. This response comes even if what he has done is against the norms of his society, but Oedipus’s’ religion allows faults to be committed and leaves it to the sinner to decide the harshness of his punishment. In “Ghosts”, the whole society is of a different structure. The members of this community do not have the same direct contact with their God as the members of the ancient Greek world, but reach their God through a divine person. In this way, the

society presented in “Ghosts” is further away from their wholly sprite, but closer to their priest. This gave the priest enormous powers as he was a “pathway to heaven” for his congregation. This may be seen in Pastor Manders obsessions of how he is perceived by the people who entrust in him. This shines through during the discussion with Mrs. Alving if the orphanage should be insured or not; “You see! In town, we have a great many such people. Followers of other denominations. People might very easily come to the conclusion that neither you nor I have sufficient trust in the ordinance of Higher Power”2. The orphanage is to be raised in Captain Alvings memorial, but it’s his own reputation Pastor Manders is concerned with. Mrs. Alvings’ name is just mentioned to