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

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

Length: 463 words (1.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
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. Foretold in prophecy and initiated by his anger, the downfall of Oedipus comes to fruition as all facts gradually come to light.

This "enlightening" starts with the revelations of a blind prophet named Tiresias. Though sightless, Tiresias can "see" the truth. He argues with Oedipus "...you have your sight, and do not see... . Yea, you are ignorant... ."(Sophocles, 15). Understandably, Oedipus is enraged at the prophet's accusations and fatally insists on investigating the murder of King Laius.

In Aristotle's Poetics, it is stated that a tragedy must be complete - having a beginning, middle and end. Of equal importance "...the sequence of events, according to the law of probability or necessity, will admit of a change from bad fortune to good or from good fortune to bad."(Aristotle, 15).

The impetus for the downfall of Oedipus, "Known far and wide by name" (Sophocles, 1), is his anger. Enraged he slew King Laius and in anger he hastily pursued his own ruination. From the aforementioned recriminations of Tiresias to the conflict with his brother-in-law Creon (his ill temper again displayed - "Tempers such as yours most grievous to their own selves to bear,... .(Sophocles, 25); through the revealing exchanges with his wife/mother Jocasta and her slave (whose pity saved the infant Oedipus), damming insight grows in a logical sequence, all the while fueled by the Oedipal rage. Realizing the heinous nature of his actions, Oedipus blinds himself in a fit of anger and remorse - now, as Tiresias, he can see.

In an age where popular entertainment is apparently guided by the maxim "more is better" (see the body count in any popular "action thriller") and "special effects" dominate,

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"tragoed Elements of Tragedy in Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex)." 123HelpMe.com. 08 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=8963>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about The Tragic Tragedy Of Sophocles ' Oedipus Rex

- 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]

Research Papers
992 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex Fulfills All of the Requirements of a Tragedy

- Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex Fulfills All of the Requirements of a Tragedy Throughout Poetics, Aristotle describes what traits a tragedy must have to be successful. To support these choices, he makes use of a small analysis of many tragedies, including many of Sophocles’ plays; Oedipus Rex is one of the plays mentioned in Aristotle’s Poetics. Some of these traits include a successful plot structure, recognition scenes, and a correct choice for its hero. In Oedipus Rex, Sophocles fulfills all of these requirements....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Research Papers
1073 words (3.1 pages)

The Use of Religion as a Literary Element in Oedipus Rex Essay

- The Use of Religion as a Literary Element in Oedipus Rex and how it Influences the Use of Religion in Modern Western Literature Famous novelist, C.S. Lewis, stated, “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become” (“Literature Quotes”)....   [tags: Oedipus Rex Essays]

Research Papers
1107 words (3.2 pages)

tragoed Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex)

- Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King In the introduction to Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Sophocles defines a tragic hero as one who "[behaves] admirably as a man, [but who] is nevertheless tripped up by forces beyond his control and understanding..." (Sophocles 76).  In Oedipus the King, Oedipus is the tragic hero. The force that "trips up" the hero is fate, or, moira. It is Oedipus's actions that set the events into motion,  but it is ultimately his fate, and his attempted aversion to it, that brings about his downfall....   [tags: Oedipus the King Oedipus Rex]

Research Papers
1213 words (3.5 pages)

What Makes A Perfect Tragedy? Essay

- In theater, tragedy is an art that many playwrights try to perfect. What makes a perfect tragedy though. Is it the characters. The plot. Or something other than these two cornerstones of theater. According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, the perfect tragedy consists of a mix of these elements. In his work, Poetics, Aristotle outlines the fifteen elements that create the perfect tragedy. All fifteen of these elements fall into either two main categories, plot and character, or they stand alone, equally as important as the rest....   [tags: Tragedy, Sophocles, Oedipus, Poetics]

Research Papers
1025 words (2.9 pages)

Tragedy : The Great Mirror Of Real Life Essay

- Tragedies are an inherent part of human culture and drama. They are centered around sadness and death - misfortune and the falling of great characters. Ultimately tragedies were designed to be, and still are (over two and a half millennia after they were created) cathartic. Catharsis means “purification” in Greek, and it is precisely this which is at the center of the tragic power contained in this genre of drama. Catharsis allows us to release emotions, not just in traditional ways but as a group audience....   [tags: Tragedy, Tragic hero, Poetics, Drama]

Research Papers
1456 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on tragoed Comparing Elements of Tragedy in Hamlet and Oedipus the King

- The Tragedies of Hamlet and Oedipus the King       Tragedy is a broad genre that may take many forms. Sophocles' Oedipus the King and Shakespeare's Hamlet both contain the basic elements of tragedy, but Hamlet is a tragic hero, while Oedipus is a tragic villain. From the opening moments of Hamlet, the audience knows that Hamlet must avenge his father's death. Oedipus, on the other hand, kills his own father and unwittingly marries his mother, thus sealing his own fate and fulfilling the prophecy that stated he would do just that....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Research Papers
774 words (2.2 pages)

Oedipus the King: The Pierced Ankle in Oedipus Rex Essay

- The Symbol of the Pierced Ankle in Oedipus the King The classification of Oedipus the King as a tragedy requires it to meet certain criteria pertaining to the main character, Oedipus. Oedipus must have no control over the situation which he is in, he has to have been harmed by someone for doing nothing or doing what is just, and he must come to an end in which he is utterly lost, or dies without resolving the situation. All three of these criteria can be found represented under a symbol, and that symbol is the piercing of his ankles as a child....   [tags: Oedipus Rex Essays]

Free Essays
525 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on The Incarnation of the Theory of Tragedy in Oedipus Rex

- Oedipus' character is labyrinthine in the sense that it raises controversies; many readers and critics might look at Oedipus as a hero who is doomed to his tragic end by misfortune and fate rather than by his tragic flaws. At first blush, this looks like a drawback that is enough to render the play inappropriate for an original model of the theory of tragedy. However, as a matter of fact Sophocles' plays contribute much to the formation of the ground on which the theory of tragedy is based. Actually Aristotle lays the foundations for the critical study of drama in his Poetics by drawing on Sophocles' plays most of the time, especially on Oedipus Rex....   [tags: World Literature]

Research Papers
705 words (2 pages)

Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex (the King) and Seneca’s Oedipus Essay

- Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex (the King) and Seneca’s Oedipus   Contrary to Sophocles’ Oedipus that was written to the Greeks, a peaceful and wise audience, Seneca’s Oedipus was written to the Romans, a militaristic and violent community.  Seneca successfully appeals to the elements of Roman literature; therefore, Edith Hamilton in The Roman Way calls him the “Father of sentimental drama.”  Seneca wrote the play in around 50 AD about 480 years after Sophocles’ production.  The Roman audience responded to a melodramatic plot rather than the tragic theme of the former Oedipus.  Seneca, in rewriting the play Oedipus makes significant adjustments to suit the Roman audience, particularly plot and s...   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Research Papers
1065 words (3 pages)

Related Searches

123helpme.com/search.asp?text=oedipus+rex">Oedipus Rex achieves its climax in a refreshingly concise and intelligent manner. "For the plot ought to be so constructed that, even without the aid of the eye, he who hears the tale told will thrill with horror and melt to pity at what takes place. This is the impression we should receive from hearing the story of the Oedipus."(Aristotle, 24).  In 1500 years will The Phantom Menace be as revered?

Works Cited

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1991.

Aristotle. Poetics. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1997.
Return to 123HelpMe.com