The Noble King In Oedipus The King

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A thunderous crash is felt when nobility falls from its ivory tower. A crash that is heard for generations. Sophocles’ Greek drama Oedipus Rex is just such a crash. It exhibits a noble king beset by unimaginable tragedy. Oedipus the King has elicited pity and fear from those who read it or watch it for many generations. How does one who is noble, and good, fall? It is “Aristotle 's demand that suffering be shown to have been caused, in part at least, by errors.” The plot, hero, diction and theme all lead to a final tragic event in the life of the noble king. Oedipus the King exemplifies Aristotle’s idea of a flawed and fallible, noble but tragic hero.
According to Aristotle the plot of a tragedy does tell, it shows, it explains with its
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What control has a man against that which the gods have ordained? Leon Golden states that in order to pity those who receive undeserved misfortune, and fear that such a fate is possible for all men “requires that the tragic hero fall from happiness to misery because of some intellectual, not moral, error (hamartia).” Oedipus did not know his father when he killed him, and did not know his mother when he married her. His ignorance was his doom. In self-fulfilling prophecy Oedipus’ premature curse on the wrongdoers, lays the curse on him, ‘I pray that the man’s life be consumed in evil and wretchedness.” Sophocles elicits fear from his audience when they identify with Oedipus. Patricide and incest are universally, and historically seen as wrong, yet in speaking of Oedipus Freud wrote, “His destiny moves us only because it might have been ours.” A man’s first love is his mother, and his first hate for his father. The audience can see the fruition of such desires. Quoting Aristotle Golden states, “... for pity is aroused by someone who undeservedly falls into misfortune, and fear is evoked by our recognizing that it is someone like ourselves who encounters this misfortune…" The Oracle says to drive out the sheltered pollution, the incurable, that which is “beyond help or cure.” The emotion of pity is not brought about by a spectacle, or by what is seen, but by a careful leading in the structure of the play, one revelation to the next, as though Oedipus is washed away in a torrent of knowledge, until finally he drowns in it. Where choice is never taken from the hero of Greek tragedies, neither are the consequences. The plague must be cleansed from the city, and the cause of the plague is Oedipus. Aristotle’s theory that the purpose of the tragedy is catharsis, purgation or cleansing, both in the character and the audience, is seen in full
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