Essay about The Tragic Tragedy Of Sophocles ' Oedipus Rex

Essay about The Tragic Tragedy Of Sophocles ' Oedipus Rex

Length: 992 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 he argues that a good tragedy includes both reversal and recognition scenes. A scene of recognition is when the protagonist experiences a sudden revelation or enlightenment through the recognition of another character 's true identity. Oedipus’ scene of recognition is also converging with his reversal of fate as it is the recognition that brings about the reversal. The Shepard, who rescued him from the side of the mountain, tells him the story of his infancy. From this story, Oedipus is able to infer that Jocasta is actually his mother and that Laius was his father. The exact moment of Oedipus’ realization is seen here within the context of this quote.

“Ah me! 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...

... middle of paper ...

... of being blind to who he longs to see this might be in reference to his parents who’s identity he longed to uncover, when in fact, he was in contact with both his mother and his father without ever realizing it. Ironically, in his blindness, he can now finally see what he could not in sight. Oedipus, a once great man then leaves, banished and blinded, to live out his miserable fate in solitude.

Meeting all Aristotle’s criteria, Oedipus is an essentially good but imperfect character subject to forces beyond his control whilst still possessing qualities that inspire sympathy from the audience. Unable to avoid the circumstances brought upon him by the curse, Oedipus meets a gruesome fate. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex exemplifies scenes including recognition, reversal, and suffering all in which Aristotle argues as being quintessential in the making of a perfect tragedy.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Tragic Tragedy Of Sophocles ' Oedipus Rex '

- The Oedipus is essentially a tragic analysis. Everything is already there, so it needs only to be extricated. Schiller to Goethe, 1797 We all know that Oedipus killed his father and slept with his mother, and that when he discovered who he had killed and who he had married, he blinded himself. But Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Rex does not show us the killing or the wedding. It shows us only the process by which Oedipus discovers “who he is” and it then reports two actions consequent upon that discovery: Oedipus’ mother/wife Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus stabs out his eyes....   [tags: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Sigmund Freud, Jocasta]

Better Essays
1688 words (4.8 pages)

Oedipus The Tragic Hero Of Oedipus And Oedipus Rex Essay

- Oedipus the Tragic Hero Arthur Miller alters Aristotle 's definition of the tragic hero and tragedy; Miller suggests that the common man is capable of experiencing the tragedy of a king because they experience "similar emotional situations"(148). Miller points out that the tragic feeling is induced when the character gives up everything to try to guard his personal dignity. The character is flawed but not too faulty in order to be relatable to the common man. However, the character flaw that causes his downfall isn 't a weakness....   [tags: Tragic hero, Tragedy, Poetics, Sophocles]

Better Essays
1208 words (3.5 pages)

Essay The Tragic Hero Of Sophocles ' Oedipus Rex '

- According to Aristotle, the main function of a theatre production was to make impression on the audience. The emotional state of the main character is one of the most decisive factors for a successful theatre performance. The famous tragedy “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles is the best known exemplification of Aristotle’s concept of the tragic hero and a perfect example of the key element of making an impression. The protagonist, Oedipus, is a strong leader, a righteous king and a famous man for his heroics making his grievous fall from grace that much more dramatic and emotional for the audience....   [tags: Tragedy, Tragic hero, Character, Sophocles]

Better Essays
1284 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on The Tragedy Of Sophocles ' Oedipus Rex And Hamlet '

- There is no doubt that tragedy has changed considerably since Aristotle first wrote the definition of tragedy in his Poetics in Ancient Greece, but these changes raise the question of whether modern tragedy still fits the classical definition of tragedy. Tragedy has evolved greatly since the times of the classical tragedies, including Oedipus Rex and Hamlet, to the more modern forms of tragedy, as seen in The Hairy Ape and Death of a Salesman. Despite its evolution and deviation from Aristotle’s definition, modern tragedy holds by the same principles, and retains the same power and message expressed by Aristotelian tragedy....   [tags: Tragedy, Tragic hero, Poetics, Sophocles]

Better Essays
1546 words (4.4 pages)

The Tragedy Of Oedipus Rex Essay

- 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]

Better Essays
751 words (2.1 pages)

tragoed Elements of Tragedy in Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) Essay

- Elements of Tragedy in Oedipus Rex It is not the tragic subject matter of the text that is of primary interest - but rather the manner in which the plot is developed. The story line progresses as if the reader is "unpeeling an onion." The tale of King Oedipus is well known. An enraged Oedipus unknowingly slays his father (Laiusq, King of Thebes) and supplants him as monarch and as husband to his own mother (Queen Jocasta). As each successive "layer of the onion" is unpeeled, Oedipus is brought a step closer to realizing the true nature of his actions....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Free Essays
463 words (1.3 pages)

Essay about Oedipus Rex, Oedipus, And The Most Important Form Of Entertainment

- During the Classic Greek era, dramas were the most important form of entertainment which included three genres: comedy, satyr, and the most significant of all, tragedy. The genre of tragedy was important to the Greek because is allowed the citizens to purge or to commit catharsis (Class Dis.). The popular and well known play, Oedipus Rex is an example of a tragedy that evokes emotion by following the trials and triumphs of a tragic hero. In Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Oedipus’ fate, hubris, and failure to acknowledge his identity led to his ultimate downfall as a tragic hero....   [tags: Oedipus, Sophocles, Tragedy, Oedipus the King]

Better Essays
845 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about Mythology in Oedipus Rex

- 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]

Better Essays
3973 words (11.4 pages)

Structure in Oedipus Rex Essay

- Structure in Oedipus Rex                M. H. Abrams says that “almost all literary theorists since Aristotle have emphasized the importance of structure, conceived in diverse ways, in analyzing a work of literature” (300). The matter of the structure of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex is a subject of varying interpretation among literary critics, as this essay will reveal.   In “A Great Translator’s Reflections on Oedipus the King,” Gilbert Murray, professor at Oxford University in England, cites structure as one of the reasons why he chose Oedipus Rex as a work of translation:   On the whole, I can only say that the work of translation has made me feel even more strongly than before the e...   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Better Essays
2332 words (6.7 pages)

Tragedy Playwrights Essay

- Today, audiences everywhere marvel at some of the most famous tragic plays ever written by Shakespeare and Shakespeare is credited with creating the most well-known and elaborate plays to this date. Some of Shakespeare’s plays such as Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet all fall under the genre of tragedy and many credit his plays with the genre’s success and origin but in truth the origin of the very nature of these plays date far earlier in time before Shakespeare’s and the earlier English playwrights’ time....   [tags: Sophocles, Ancient Greece, Oedipus Rex, tragic]

Better Essays
1844 words (5.3 pages)