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Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus

5. The Gods, Fate and Religion

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In this module, we think about the role of the gods, fate and religion in the play, focusing in particular on Oedipus as someone particularly close the gods, his attempt to escape his own fate, Jocasta's dismissal of oracles at 707f., and the role of Apollo in Oedipus' actions.


In this course, Dr Rosie Wyles (University of Kent) explores Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus. In the first module, we think about where Sophocles chooses to start the story and how it proceeds, compared to other versions of the myth. After that, we think about how the original audience may have reacted to the play in light of the devastating plague that Athens had suffered in the early years of the Peloponnesian War. In the third module, we explore the character of Oedipus himself, before turning in the fourth module to the presentation of violence in the play – both as reported to us in messenger speeches and as shown to us on stage. In the final module, we turn to the role of the gods and fate in the play: does Oedipus deserve what happens to him?


Rosie Wyles studied Classics at Oxford, graduating from St. Anne’s college in 2004. She has been involved with the Archive for the Performance Reception of Greek and Roman drama, Oxford ( since 2004 when she was awarded the AHRC PhD studentship attached to the APGRD’s project on the reception of the tragic canon within antiquity. Her thesis, supervised by Professor Edith Hall, was on costume’s role in the ancient performance reception of Euripides’ Telephus, Heracles and Andromeda. She was awarded her doctorate from the University of London in 2007. After the completion of her doctorate, she has held posts at the University of Oxford, the National University of Ireland Maynooth and the University of Nottingham. Her research interests include: Greek and Roman performance arts, costume, reception within antiquity, performance reception and gender. Her most recent research project, begun as Leverhulme research fellow at the University of Nottingham, is on Madame Dacier’s French translations of Greek and Latin texts in Louis XIV’s France and the significance of her work to gender battles (in her own time and beyond).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wyles, R. (2018, August 15). Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus - The Gods, Fate and Religion [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Wyles, R. "Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus – The Gods, Fate and Religion." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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