Aristotle’s View Of Tragedy As It Pertains To Oedipus

1016 words - 4 pages

Aristotle's Poetics is the first written attempt to theorize the complex experience of Greek tragedy. Aristotle used Oedipus as his chief example to define the characteristics that a tragedy should posses. He defined tragedy as an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude ""¦in language a embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions"¦"(Aristotle on Tragedy 1).In Aristotle's view every tragedy; therefore, must have six aspects, which determine its quality: plot, characters, diction, thought, spectacle, and melody. Almost all of these characteristics are fully portrayed in Sophocles's Oedipus.Aristotle considers the plot to be the most important aspect of a tragedy, which he ""¦defines as "˜the arrangement of the incidents'"(McManus 1). Aristotle also wrote that the plot must consists of several key factors including; a hero(ine) who has distinguished him/herself as "˜great' in some significant way. Additionally the hero must commit hamartia or some sort of a violation and there must be a plot twist, also known as peripeteia, as the result of the hamartia. In conclusion the hero must recognize that his or hers own actions are responsible for the sudden change in fortune, and finally a tragedy must conclude with a catharsis or a purging of emotions by the hero; as well as, the audience. In a tragedy the hero usually, but not always, should suffers death or major injury caused by the actions that they themselves have taken.All of these characteristics can easily be found in Oedipus and some of these characteristics can be found in more then one place in the story. Oedipus, the main character, was born into royalty with the anticipation of being king one day, and even after he was thrown away by his parents his adapted parents were also royalty and he was still destined to be king. This distinguished Oedipus as great in a very significant way. Oedipus also committed hamartia when he tried to change his fate by running away form his adapted parents, because the oracle told him that he was going to kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus was not aware that he was adapted and to save himself from committing these horrible actions he ran away from home. By his running away the plot of the story turns when Oedipus comes upon his birth father and not knowing who the stranger is, kills him. Also later on in the story when Oedipus becomes king, he is told that he has to find the killer of the old king/his father or the town will parish. Oedipus being a concerned ruler says that he will find and punish the man responsible not realizing that he was that man which is just another example of peripeteia.Oedipus then peruses on to call for the blind seer, who tells him that he killed the king and...

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