The reader is told in Aristotle's Poetics that tragedy "arouses the emotions of pity and fear, wonder and awe" (The Poetics 10). To Aristotle, the best type of tragedy involves reversal of a situation, recognition from a character, and suffering. The plot has to be complex, and a normal person should fall from prosperity to misfortune due to some type of mistake. Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, is a great example of a Greek tragedy. Its main plot is Oedipus' goal to find out his true identity, the result being his downfall by finding out he has married his own mother and killed his father. The three unities, noble character, and complex plot, are what make Oedipus Rex a good example of a tragedy in relation to Aristotle's Poetics.
As defined by Aristotle, the three unities are the time, place and action of the tragedy. Oedipus Rex fits the time duration that Aristotle says a good tragedy should have "for tragedy is especially limited by one period of the sun, or admits but a small variation from this period" (Poetics 10). The play takes place at one main site, the palace in Thebes, and has action that has no subplot. Throughout the play, Oedipus is trying to find out his true identity. Subsequently his search for a cure to end the plague that has struck the city is related to Oedipus' goal.
Aristotle mentions Oedipus Rex in his Poetics to demonstrate how recognition of a character is best with a reversal of a situation. The main character, Oedipus, learns that he has done the unthinkable by killing his father and marrying his mother. This reversal of a situation adds to an effect central to a tragedy, where one who was once superior is brought down to an inferior leve...
... middle of paper ...
...iticism. Ed. Bernard F. Dukore. Fort Worth: Harcourt, 1974. 31-55.
"Antigone." In The Encyclopedia Americana, edited by Dudley, Lavinia P. et alii. New York: Americana Corporation, 1957. vol. 2.
Harmon, William, and C. Hugh Holman. A Handbook to Literature. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Translated by R. C. Jebb. The Internet Classic Archive. no pag. http://classics.mit.edu/Sophocles/antigone.html
Sophocles. The Three Theban Plays. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Classics, 1994
"Sophocles" In Literature of the Western World, edited by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. NewYork: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1984.
Woodard, Thomas. Introduction. In Sophocles: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Thomas Woodard. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Oedipus The King as Greek Tragedy The genre of drama is wide and contains works of varied forms and subjects. The first drama, on which all later works are based, developed in Greece and dealt with religious and social issues. According to AristotleÕs The Poetics, a Greek Tragedy must deal with a serious purpose, arousing a sense of pity or fear in the audience. The emphasis must be on plot over character development and the playwright must utilize suspense and unity of time, place and action.... [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
870 words (2.5 pages)
- Oedipus the King as a Greek Tragedy The Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles (496-406 B.C.), adheres to Aristotles (384-322 B.C.) definition of a tragedy. The first criterion of a Greek tragedy is that the protagonist be a good person; doubly blessed with a good heart and noble intention. Sophocles reveals immediately at the start of the play that Oedipus is such a man. As is common in the Greek tragedy Oedipus is also an aristocrat. Born of the King and Queen of Thebes he is of true nobility.... [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
1603 words (4.6 pages)
- Oedipus arrives at Thebes and finds the city under the curse of the Sphinx who will not free the city unless the riddle is answered. Oedipus solves the riddle and is rewarded and made king. Laius, former king, has been killed and Oedipus has married the widowed queen, Iokaste. Now another plague is raging and the people of Thebes have asked Oedipus to rescue them. Kreon, Iokaste's brother returns from Apollo's oracle with the news that Laius's murder must be punished in order to rid the city of the plague.... [tags: Oedipus Rex Essays]
629 words (1.8 pages)
- Oedipus Rex is a classic example of a Greek theatre tragedy, written by Sophocles, and first performed in 429 BC. The story features Oedipus, the King of Thebes, and his story to lift the curse off of his kingdom by finding the previous king’s murderer and prosecuting him. In a crazy turn of events, it turns out that Oedipus is actually the son of the late King Laius, and his father’s killer. Due to a prophecy divulged to Oedipus’ father, Oedipus was left at a crossroads when he was a baby because it was told he would kill his father and sleep with his mother.... [tags: Oedipus, Tragedy, Aeschylus, Sophocles]
1209 words (3.5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Sophocles, Tragedy, Oedipus the King, Oedipus]
992 words (2.8 pages)
- Greek theater is known for its tragedies, to the point that there is a formula for how to produce them. Catharsis is the end result of an ideal tragedy, and is a primary reason for why Aristotle views Oedipus Rex as the best Greek tragedy; even viewers today can feel catharsis from the play. Catharsis is a metaphor for emotional cleansing during a tragedy. Along with catharsis, Aristotle believes Oedipus Rex is a leading example of tragedy because of its simple plot, rational storyline and use of tragic essentials.... [tags: Tragedy, Drama, Poetics, Sophocles]
751 words (2.1 pages)
- Oedipus Rex is considered to be one of the greatest tragedies. It has all the hallmarks of Greek tragedies. This includes the downfall of the character of high status or power, the hero’s suffering because of hamartia, and his hubris that causes the error. Oedipus, the tragic hero, was prideful. It could be argued that because of this trait; he makes the mistake of trying to escape his fate; thus making sure it would come true. Although Oedipus was flawed, this is not the complete reason for his downfall.... [tags: Tragedy, Sophocles, Oedipus, Greek mythology]
900 words (2.6 pages)
- Oedipus Rex as Social Commentary Oedipus Rex, written by the Poet Sophocles in the Golden Age of Greek Theatre, was described by Aristotle to be the greatest tragedy of all time. It encapsulates the very essence of the Greek cultural milieu, and it is these ideologies which are translated into the play. The very essence of Greek society; the political democracy, a moral belief in the power of the Gods and social recognition of hierarchy, are portrayed when the society is pictured in a state of chaos.... [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
880 words (2.5 pages)
- Mythology in Oedipus Rex E. T. Owen in “Drama in Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus” comments on the mythological beginnings of Oedipus Rex: Professor Goodell says: “Given an old myth to be dramatized, Sophocles’ primary question was, ‘Just what sort of people were they, must they have been, who naturally did and suffered what the tales say they did and suffered?” That was his method of analysis (38). The Greek Sophoclean tragedy Oedipus Rex is based on a myth from the Homeric epic Odysseus.... [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
3973 words (11.4 pages)
- Mythology in Oedipus Rex In “The Oedipus Legend” Bernard M. W. Knox talks of the advantages accruing to Sophocles as a user of myths in his dramas: The myths he used gave to his plays, without any effort on his part, some of those larger dimensions of authority which the modern dramatist must create out of nothing if his play is to be more than a passing entertainment. The myths had the authority of history, for myth is in one of its aspects the only history of an age that kept no records.... [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]
4088 words (11.7 pages)