Analysis Of Oedipus Rex By Sophocles

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According to Aristotle, the main function of a theatre production was to make impression on the audience. The emotional state of the main character is one of the most decisive factors for a successful theatre performance. The famous tragedy “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles is the best known exemplification of Aristotle’s concept of the tragic hero and a perfect example of the key element of making an impression. The protagonist, Oedipus, is a strong leader, a righteous king and a famous man for his heroics making his grievous fall from grace that much more dramatic and emotional for the audience. Fading development from perfection to failure creates a correlation along with the principles found in a tragic hero as put forth by Aristotle. Sophocles’…show more content…
Aristotle is every careful in his definition of the tragic hero as the variations of a play could very quickly take away away from the key principles of the concept. Aristotle insisted that the tragic hero had to be a very specific man “a man not pre-eminently virtuous and just, whose misfortune, however, is brought upon him not by vice and depravity but by some error of judgement.” (Reeves, The Aristotelian Concept) Aristotle also mentions that at no point was the character allowed to progress from misery to happiness as he claims this “… situation is not fear-inspiring or piteous but simply odious to us (the audience).” (Reeves, The Aristotelian Concept) Aristotle’s concept hero then reaches a peak of greatness and the fall is uninterrupted, complete and impossible to be stopped by the hero. Oedipus coined by Sophocles is a perfect tragic hero in terms of Aristotelian theories. Though Oedipus reaches a swift an unparalleled…show more content…
Sophocles was completely ahead of his time and employed these rules in Oedipus Rex. Aristotle often cites this play throughout Poetics (Elsom 78). The story tells the audience what happened in one day, one scene and one place (outside the palace in Thebes.) Included in this perfect mix of a great piece of tragedy was the the concept of “Catharsis”. The idea of Catharsis occurs throughout the play, "Catharsis was an emotional cleansing felt by the audience where all the emotional tensions of the tragedy would be resolved." (Segal 146). The best tragic plot is another decisive factor for Aristotle to claim that this tragedy is a brilliant representation of a perfect tragedy. Aristotle was fond of "the plausibility of the reversal (peripeteia) and the dramatic irony" (Segal 146). Anagnorisis or truth awareness in the play coincides with the reverse in fortunes of Oedipus (Segal 18). Aristotle claims that the audience realizes and intellectualizes the play and the emotional pathos of the reversal (Segal 146). Aristotle explained that Oedipus failed, because he suffered much from his ambiguous self-identification. According to critics, "…Oedipus suffered from tragic flaws of character, his vain curiosity in consulting the oracle about his birth, his pride in refusing to yield the way on his return from the oracle, and his fury and violence in attacking four
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