The Greek play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles is known most famously for being an excellent portrayal of Greek tragedy. In the Poetics, philosopher Aristotle praises Sophocles for meeting his criteria of what makes up a perfect tragedy. The play follows an Aristotelian plot consisting of a scene of recognition, a reversal of situation and scenes of suffering. The play must also have the perfect tragic hero. They must be a superior individual without being too perfect, otherwise, their inevitable downfall would come across as unwarranted. They must incur the tragic outcome of their fate due to a mistake that Aristotle defines as a hamartia. Oedipus Rex meets all Aristotle 's required elements of a perfect tragedy.
In Aristotle’s analysis of tragedy …show more content…
ah me! All brought to pass, all true! O light, may I behold you nevermore!
I stand a wretch, in birth, in wedlock cursed, A parricide, incestuously, triply cursed!”
—Oedipus Rex (lines 1185-1188)
Here Oedipus realizes all the events of the curse, which he 's tried so hard to avoid have now all come to pass. Cursed in his birth and his marriage, he wishes to look upon the world no longer, in light of the truth he has discovered.
Aristotle’s reversal of events is meant to mark a great turning point in the fate of the protagonist from better to worse circumstances. The Reversal is used to surprise the audience and follows as a result of the protagonist’s previous actions or mistakes. The second of Aristotle 's criteria begins on line number 931 when a messenger arrives from Corinth confirming to Oedipus that he is not really Polybos’ son. This is intended to ease Oedipus’ mind, freeing him of fears concerning the identity of his parents. The revelation of his true parentage, however, has the opposite effect. As it leads to his confronting of the Shepard resulting in the realization that he has actually fulfilled the dreaded …show more content…
Here, the metaphor of light, which represents truth and knowledge, is present. The idea of sight is critical in Oedipus the King. Though Tiresias, the prophet, is physically blind, he sees the truth from the beginning, while Oedipus, who has physical eyesight, is blind to the truth. Oedipus experiences the ultimate reversal of fate when he not only learns he has murdered his own father, but that he has married his mother, and with her, fathered four children of incest. The former Monarch has now gone from a heroic king, beloved by all of Thebes to an incestuous murderer, banished from his own kingdom. As shown in this