What is the importance of religion in Oedipus and the "Nun's Priest's Tale" in Canterbury Tales?

Essay by BanterBanterHigh School, 12th gradeA+, November 2003

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The importance of religion in the "Nun's Priest's Tale" in the Canterbury Tales was to give the citizens morals to help them discern between what's good and what's evil. Religion was not necessarily helpful to unite a town as a constitution might do; although, religion had that effectiveness if the people were willing for it. In Oedipus, the importance of religion was omnipresent from birth to death, as the people's gods held their fate. This view is contrasting to Christianity in the "Nun's Priest's Tale", because whereas Christianity allows people to choose their path in life without knowing they're condemned, paganism in Oedipus automatically handed out a person's destiny without being allowed to reverse the god's decision. Besides having different perspectives of religion in the two stories, they are similar because both religions expect the people to have faith without challenging its rules or beliefs.

Having and keeping true faith in religion will influence how you live. This is true in both stories. In the "Nun's Priest's Tale", the pious nun Cecilia decides to live a life of virtue with her husband, who cannot touch her in love or lust unless he is baptized by the excommunicated Pope. The husband does, and is allowed to be with his wife. Not only does religion set standards of living, but also brings the husband and wife closer together. Being the opposite, Oedipus has an absolute lack of faith. By disbelieving, Oedipus disregards everything that he is told, which makes his gods angry and punishes him.

Persevering without losing any faith keeps the mind spiritually strong, as is present in Cecilia and her husband when a high church official demands that they renounce their faith. They didn't back down, but took a stand against what they...