Aristotle's Analysis of Oedipus the King

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Aristotle's Analysis of Oedipus Rex Aristotle is the most influential philosopher in the history of Western thought. A Greek drama by Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, was praised in the Poetics of Aristotle as the model for classical tragedy and is still considered a principal example of the genre. In this essay I will analyze Oedipus Rex using Aristotle's concepts praxis, poiesis, theoria. Thought and character make persons actions. They only indicate the basic meaning of action but if one wants to understand how the arts imitate action more than just in concepts of thought and character he or she should explore the notion of it a little further. Action springs from character and thought. Aristotle believes that a man?s character makes him act in certain ways, but he acts only in response to the change of circumstances in his life, and it is his perception that shows him what to look for and what to avoid in each situation. Furthermore, in Aristotle?s psychology, action and character are formed from out ill-defined emotions, which he calls pathos. Therefore in any tragedy the element of it is essential. If we want to understand the action in Oedipus Rex, we must concentrate on the relationship between the pathos with which the actual play starts and ends, and the purpose which is to find the slayer, that produces the events of the story. Action and passion or (praxis and pathos), are very sharply contrasted. Action is simply active: the character perceives something that it wants, and gradually ?moves? toward it. Passion on the other hand is passive: the character suffers something that it can?t control, and therefore ?is moved? thereby. This can be best illustrated in the Prologue of Oedipus Rex, Thebe... ... middle of paper ... ...ing and unrivaled in its comprehensiveness. Works Cited and Consulted Barnes, Jonathan. The Complete works of Aristotle. Revised ed. Vol. 2. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1984. Benardete, Seth. ?Sophocles? Oedipus Tyrannus.? In Sophocles: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Thomas Woodard. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966. Ehrenberg, Victor. ?Sophoclean Rulers: Oedipus.? In Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, edited by Michael J. O?Brien. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968. Grene, Marjorie. A Portrait of Aristotle. Chicago: U of C, 1963. Murray, Robert D. Jr. ?Sophocles? Moral Themes.? In Readings on Sophocles, edited by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1997. ?Sophocles? In Literature of the Western World, edited by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. NewYork: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1984.

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