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The troubling inscrutability of providence, with its apparent lapses and contradictions, was a Renaissance commonplace. But for Philip Sidney, this very inscrutability offered a narrative opportunity. In his Old Arcadia, Sidney uses the gap between the future-oriented perspective of his characters and past-tense narration to show how moral agency interacts with an overarching providence. The paradoxes of human action in a divinely plotted world are embedded—and, ultimately, resolved—within the grammar of the text.