Cartharsis within Oedipus Rex

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Greek theatre was entwined within Ancient Greek society. Multiple didactic, dramatic works were directed and performed for the Greek society, from multiple tragedies invoking thought upon the layered meanings of the work, to the satyr comedies, which provided relief from the dark tragedies, while also educating the audience. Oedipus Rex is a theatrical tragedy directed by Sophocles in which it describes the consequences of King Oedipus’s past. The dramatic work begins ‘in medias res” in which it commences after the Greek myth tale of Oedipus’s homicide, the banishing of the wicked sphinx and his incestuous activity. Oedipus is oblivious of his past sins, and the dramatic tragedy depicts the events leading up to, and regarding his anagnorisis, then the ramifications of committing his immoral crimes. Within Greek tragedies, the narratives presented a catharsis of the main protagonist to the audience in which the protagonist analyses their flaws and results in some form of ‘restoration’ or ‘renewal’ of the protagonist. This was enhanced via the application of the conventions of tragedy which contributes to the emotion that the audience experiences, therefore likewise, their reaction to the catharsis. Generally the catharsis of the protagonist invokes a catharsis of the audience members. The conventions of tragedy were present within each Greek tragedy, most following the same events, however with varying situations and motives. The protagonist must be viewed by both the audience and characters within the play as someone to be admired which causes audiences to identify with them. They must suffer from some form of hamartia which the audience can identify, therefore when the anagnorisis occurs, they can understand the reasoning and avo... ... middle of paper ... ..., however by the use of tragic conventions, a playwright may enhance how the audience reacts in response to the purification of the protagonists emotions. If the protagonist is viewed as an idol by the audience and the characters within the play, a link may be formed between character and audience in order to create a larger response for the protagonist’s experiences. With the use of a hamartia of the protagonist, the audience may consider the flaws of the protagonist’s personality. An anagnorisis is utilised in order to make the audience assess what is justifiable, and what is not. The punishment of the protagonist via pain or suffering causes the audience to realise that the crime committed was iniquitous. These conventions of tragedy each cause the audience to respond more passionately in their response to the catharsis, while triggering a catharsis of their own.

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